Australia could be on the verge of an all-out war with China as tensions between the two trading partners continue to escalate, a top general has warned his troops.
Major-General Adam Findlay, formerly one of Australia's top military commanders, said that a combat war with the communist nation was likely and we were already engaged in 'grey zone' warfare.
The special force general made the terrifying prediction during a briefing with troops in April 2020, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Mr Findlay, who has since stepped down but is an advisor for the Australian Defence Force, reportedly said there was a 'high likelihood' of war.
Relations between the two nations has been strained since Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus last year, and have only been made worse after China imposed punitive trading tariffs which are hitting Australian farmers.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Pictured: Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region
Australia could be on the verge of an all-out war with China as tensions between the two trading partners continue to escalate. Pictured is Chinese President Xi Jinping
'Who do you reckon the main [regional] threat is?' he reportedly asked the troops, to which they replied 'China'.
Multiple sources say the general then warned that China boasts 26,000 special force brigades, and said Australia must boost its traditional forces as well as cyber and even space.
'We need to make sure we don't lose momentum, get back in the region', he added, fearing that Beijing was capitalising on Australia's 'absence' in the area - with the nations in a 'grey zone'.
In international relations, a grey zone is a limbo state between peace and war, where nations behave strategically and coercively but their actions fall short of war.
Recently, even Defence Minister Peter Dutton has conceded that war with the communist superpower could not be dismissed - saying we are already 'under attack' by online hackers.
The dire warning comes as the federal government's Mandarin-speaking China expert urged Australia and its allies to form a treaty to combat China's recent economic 'attack'.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Shocking disparities between Australia and China's military power shows we would struggle in a war, amid fears that tensions both nations are nearing tipping point
Liberal National MP Ted O'Brien called for Australia and its allies to join forces and respond with 'lawful retaliatory action' or 'expand military alliances'.
'Fresh action was required sooner rather than later,' he added.
'Communist China is weaponising trade and investment to pursue geostrategic outcomes for which earlier nations and empires would have used armed conflict, and it's getting away with it,' he wrote in a piece for the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday.
Mr O'Brien said the United Nations and World Trade Organisation are incapable and don't possess the legitimacy to deal with economic security.
'The void must, nevertheless, be filled. To this end, I propose we look to principles of collective security and mutual assistance to enable nations to come to the aid of others in the event of economic attack,' he said.
China has a defence budget six times higher than Australia. Pictured is military training at at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications
A Chinese naval ship sails into Sydney Harbour in June 2019 during a secret reciprocal visit - there are now warnings of an impending war between the nations
Prime Minister Morrison has recently announced a $747million funding boost to bolster Australia's combat readiness in the face of an increasingly aggressive Beijing, but denied the move was anything more than an effort to 'pursue peace'.
But even with the cash injection, Australia's military may still pale in comparison to the communist regime.
China has a defence budget six times higher than Australia and boasts 42 times more soldiers, 55 times more tanks, 13 times more submarines and 16 times more fighter jets.
Relations with China, Australia's biggest trading partner, began to drastically deteriorate in April last year when Mr Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, which first appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.
The plea for transparency over Covid-19 infuriated the Communist Party who retaliated by imposing arbitrary bans and tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Australian goods including barley, wine, cotton, seafood, beef, copper, and coal.
Beijing recently warned it 'reserves the right to make further reactions' after the federal government tore up Victoria's Belt and Road initiative with China, adding the move was damaging to bilateral relations.
Tension between China and Australia began to deteriorate when Scott Morrison (pictured) called for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus
China has warned Australia it must fall in line with its policy to 'reunify' the disputed island of Taiwan if it wants to trade to return to normal. Pictured: Chinese Navy personal stand guard at Sydney's Garden Island Naval Base in 2019
Former Australian defence minister Chris Pyne also recently sounded the alarm, saying a hot war with the authoritarian state may be inevitable as Beijing becomes more aggressive and belligerent with its neighbours.
'Five years ago, I would have said that the possibility was very unlikely - now I would have to say that the possibility is more likely than it was then,' he said in a speech at the University of Adelaide in April.
'Not a cyber war, but a real one involving loss of life, destruction of military platforms, with aggressors and defenders on different sides,' he said.
'This isn't rhetoric. This is something that you and I may well have to confront in the next five to 10 years.'
Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo also recently warned