Although he claimed his visit to Taiwan was in a private capacity, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott's visit to the Chinese island was nonetheless a provocation. In a speech he delivered in Taipei on Friday, Abbott lashed out at the Chinese mainland for displaying what he called "growing belligerence to Taiwan", suggesting that the "drums of war" could be heard in the region.
His smearing of the mainland not only shows the outdated mindset that prevails in Australia, it also risks dragging Australia deeper into the mess of its own making.
Such confusing of right with wrong has been common for biased Western politicians when referring to issues concerning China, as it is an open secret that some Western countries, led by the United States, have constantly made waves in the Taiwan Straits so as to contain China's rise.
By sending warships to sail through the Straits and selling colossal amounts of arms to the Chinese island, the US itself is the one banging the so-called drums of war. The warmongering of the US, Australia and others is posing a real threat to regional peace and stability.
The encouragement from these Western countries has emboldened separatist elements in Taiwan to go even further along the dangerous road of "Taiwan independence". Yet if the separatists in Taiwan think the US and its allies will do whatever it takes to defend the island, they are deceiving themselves.
After the visit, an edited version of the speech Abbott delivered in Taiwan was published in The Australian newspaper on Sunday, in which he encourages Taiwan people to get ready to fight, advocating that "no one could be expected to fight harder for Taiwan than you would be prepared to fight for yourselves."
The message is obvious: Rather than counting on support from the US and its allies, the Taiwan separatists will have to fend for themselves. Hence, Abbott's speech should, in fact, serve as a wake-up call for those in Taiwan who still indulge in the daydream that colluding with outside forces will enable them to split Taiwan from the motherland.
From forging a new security alliance with the US and the United Kingdom targeting China to Abbott's meddling in the Taiwan question, Australia, a country that relies heavily on trade with China, has persistently prodded the most sensitive nerve of its biggest trading partner.
With politicians in Canberra continuing to act and sound increasingly hostile toward China, the worst is probably yet to come.
But Canberra should bear in mind that it is cutting off its nose to spite its face, as meddling in the Taiwan question is a dead end. Beijing has both the determination and capability to shore up the irreversible trend of national reunification.