2021-10-09 11:00:23 U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan
U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan
During one particularly tense period, in October 2020, American intelligence reports detailed how Chinese leaders became concerned that President Trump was planning an attack. These concerns, which could have been misinterpreted, prompted Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to call his counterpart in Beijing to reassure him.
“The Taiwan issue has ceased to be a sort of narrow, boutique issue, and it’s become a central theater — if not the central drama — in US-China strategic competition,” said Evan Medeiros, a former member of President Barack Obama’s National Security Council.
Xi Jinping, China’s ambitious leader, now presides over what is arguably the country’s most powerful military in history. Some argue that Mr. Xi, who has set the stage for a third term beginning in 2022, may feel compelled to conquer Taiwan to cap his reign.
Mr. Xi stated in Beijing on Saturday that Taiwan independence “posed a grave lurking threat to national rejuvenation.” He stated that China desired peaceful unification, but added, “Nobody should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and powerful ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Few believe a war is imminent or predetermined, in part because the economic and diplomatic ramifications for China would be massive. Even if the recent flights into Taiwan’s self-declared air identification zone are merely political pressure, rather than a prelude to war, China’s financial, political, and military dominance has made ensuring the island’s security a difficult task.
Until recently, the United States believed it could restrain China’s territorial ambitions, but its long-held military superiority may no longer be sufficient. In a simulated battle over Taiwan, an American “blue team” faced off against new Chinese weaponry in a war game organized by the Pentagon in October 2020.