After weeks of U.S. warnings, China said it would “resolutely smash any effort” and go to war against Taiwan’s independence.
China’s defense minister said the U.S. is “violating its vow to Taiwan” and “interfering” in Chinese affairs by backing Taiwan’s independence.
“Please understand that we will not hesitate to fight for Taiwan’s independence if anybody tries. We will fight till the very end, no matter what the cost. China has no other option, “speaking in Singapore as part of the Shangri-la Dialogue, an Asia-Pacific security meeting.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said China’s flights near Taiwan were “dangerous.” However, he said that the island’s military would be ready to defend it in the event of an assault.
China has always claimed Taiwan, which views itself as an independent country. However, the US is Taiwan’s best friend, and the law requires it to protect the island.
China is sending more planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone, and the U.S. has placed naval ships in Taiwan’s waters. China recently flew its biggest sortie of the year last month.
So, are the United States and China on the verge of a military confrontation?
Minding the Gap To Avoid War
One main concern is that if China invades Taiwan, it will start a war. Beijing has already said it is prepared to use force to recapture the island. Though many experts believe this is unlikely in the near term.
Taiwan has increased its air and sea defenses in case China invades. However, many feel Beijing knows such a move would be costly and harmful to the world.
Despite the rhetoric, the Chinese must stay their distance if they invade Taiwan. Compared to Russia’s economy, China is significantly more globally networked, “Professor of Southeast Asian Studies William Choong admits.
Gen Wei said China supported “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and would only strike if provoked.
Taiwan’s official declaration of independence might serve as a catalyst. However, there has been considerable resistance to this from President Tsai Ing-wen, who believes Taiwan is already sovereign.
Most Taiwanese, known for “maintaining the status quo,” is in favor of this viewpoint. However, a tiny percentage are increasingly saying they wish to break away from China.
A New Cold War
The U.S. has said it doesn’t desire an expensive military war in Asia.
“A new Cold War” isn’t something we’d want to see in the future, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also spoke at the Dialogue.
“In Taiwan, both sides are clinging to their beliefs.” They don’t want to be seen as sluggish or hesitant, so they need to seem challenging. ” S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies research fellow Collin Koh made comments.
At the same time, they take great care not to become involved in a full-blown fight. Each side is keeping an eye on the other’s rhetoric, but they’re doing it cautiously. “
At the Shangri-La Dialogue, both sides showed “they are still prepared to sit down and speak it out, come to an agreement, and agree to disagree,” said Mr. Koh, which was a promising omen for the two countries.
He added that there would be more active conversations between the two forces to avoid on-the-ground miscalculations that may lead to confrontation and an overall “reinvigoration of communication” lacking under Donald Trump’s presidency.
China and the United States are anticipated to keep up their rhetoric for the foreseeable future. However, according to Dr. Ian Chong, a China researcher at the National University of Singapore, disinformation campaigns or deploying additional airplanes may be among China’s options to wear out Taiwan’s military and patience.
Polls on Taiwan’s main island are scheduled for December, and the island has previously accused China of launching misinformation operations ahead of the island’s elections.
“There is no political will to change their positions” for the time being, at least for the United States and China. This is especially true given upcoming events like the midterm U.S. elections in November and China’s 20th Communist Party congress, where President Xi Jinping is expected to solidify his hold on power further.
It’s a good thing, says Dr. Chong, because neither side wants things to go worse. “On the other hand, just because we don’t escalate things doesn’t imply we’ll become any better. That means we’ll be here for a long.”