The risk of war is rising between China and the United States a week after 18 Chinese warplanes flew across the midline of the Taiwan Strait while a U.S. high-level envoy was present, according to Admiral James Stavridis writing for Nikkei Asian Review.
In addition, a video has emerged showing Chinese long-range bombers performing a dry run on a runway designed similarly to the one at the U.S. Anderson Air Force Base on Guam.
“Discard any illusions and prepare to fight,” a spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said last weekend.
The U.S. government is contemplating whether to provide Taiwan with a new suite of seven advanced defensive systems. It would include anti-ship missiles, additional advanced ground-based air defense systems and the MQ-9B Reaper drone.
The Trump administration has already approved the sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks, advanced MK-48 torpedoes, Stinger portable anti-air missiles and F-16 fighters.
Starvridis, who was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said the upcoming U.S. presidential election may stoke tension between China and the United States. This is particularly likely as the two nationals compete for influence in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Starvridis said these developments could lead to China invading Taiwan.
Starvridis said China could be provoked by more “high-level official visits to Taiwan” from U.S. officials and the United States “shifting of more advanced fighter aircraft to Guam.” That, along with additional U.S. sanctions slow Chinese microchip access, could raise tensions between the two nations.
“Taken together, such actions could convince President Xi that the time has come for more cross-strait military action. Especially if there is a period of confusion in the U.S. following the November election,” Starvridis said.
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