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US must be ‘ready’ for China to take back Taiwan by arms

This is an article from Aube Digitale which takes up the essence of this Financial Times article in which the commander of the Pacific fleet declares that the United States must be “ready” for China to retake Taiwan

“Recently, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on CNBC that the United States is not currently considering sanctioning China for tacitly assisting Russia in the war effort in Ukraine. Of course, that will likely change when Beijing finally enters Taiwan.

After the release of a historic new security agreement between the PRC and the Solomon Islands yesterday, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet – who has repeatedly warned against the increasingly aggressive military “boldness” of China who has come forward over the past year – told the FT in an interview that the US must be “prepared” for China to intervene over Taiwan (which Washington would be required to defend in under the treaty).

Admiral John Aquilino, head of the Indo-Pacific Command, said China had shown “boldness” over the past year, ranging from its increasingly assertive military activity near Taiwan and in other parts of the South China Sea to its rapid nuclear expansion and a hypersonic weapon test in July.

While many Americans are unaware of the possibility of an imminent invasion, Aquilino noted that a lot can change in a matter of months. Take the situation in Ukraine, for example. Five months ago, few people expected Russia to launch such a “special military operation”.

“I don’t think anyone, five months ago, would have predicted an invasion of Ukraine. So I think lesson number one is, ‘Hey, this could really happen.

Aquilino told the Financial Times during his first visit to Australia as head of US forces in the Indo-Pacific. “Number two, don’t be complacent… We have to be ready at all times.”

An indication of China’s increasingly aggressive military posture: its increasingly aggressive military exercises, as it sends warplanes to intimidate Taiwan by traversing the island’s airspace.

“Their operations have certainly changed, especially with regard to their operations around Taiwan – increased sea and air operations which are designed as a pressure campaign against the people of Taiwan,” Aquilino said in his first full-scale interview. since taking command of the Indo-Pacom last April.

“I wouldn’t say I’m more worried, but I see increased pressure, and we need to make sure we’re ready if any action is taken,” added Aquilino, who commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet prior to Indo- Pacom.

Mr. Aquilino also referred to China’s development of hypersonic weapons: missiles that fly faster than the speed of sound. These weapons have recently been used by the Russian military in targeted strikes on Ukrainian targets.

Asked if the hypersonic weapon was designed to target the United States or facilitate an attack on Taiwan, Mr Aquilino replied that it was an “offensive capability” – not a defensive weapon – which had “many applications”.

“I don’t think it was built for any specific application, but it certainly destabilizes the region,” he said. “This ability that could be applied against any partner in the region.”

The “tremendous increase” in China’s nuclear arsenal is another cause for alarm, Aquilino said. The Pentagon predicts that the PRC’s nuclear arsenal will exceed 1,000 warheads within this decade. He added that Indo-Pacom was working with Strategic Command, which oversees US nuclear forces, to provide “integrated deterrence” against the growing nuclear threat.

In the face of an increasingly aggressive China, the United States is increasingly relying on security cooperation with its allies, especially its “Quad” partners, security-focused cooperation between states. States, Australia, Japan and India, which Beijing has indirectly criticized as a “Pacific NATO”.

“We are increasingly synchronizing with our allies and partners,” Aquilino said, referring to a recent military exercise involving seven countries and four aircraft carriers. “Bringing that credible combat deterrent and operating forward with our allies and partners is one of the key focus areas. Asked what role Australia and Japan would play in a possible conflict in Taiwan, he said they would have to decide for themselves, but said the United States wanted to be prepared to operate with its allies. “What we want to continue to do is operate together, train together… so that whatever decisions the policy makers make, we are ready to meet the demand. »

Peacetime cooperation is one thing. But the big question is: can these partners be counted on to help the United States help the Taiwanese repel an invasion? That remains, of course, to be seen. »

The conclusion is clear.

China has been developing sufficient military potential for several years to allow it to retake Taiwan with arms in hand if necessary, and nothing says that the United States will agree to have young Americans killed by the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. to protect Taiwan, an island so far from the United States and so close to China.

And this question will arise all the more acutely, as it would be a war on two fronts for the United States. Against Russia in Europe and against China in the Pacific and in Asia.

Not easy.

Tick, Tick!

Charles SANNAT

“This is a ‘presslib’ article, that is to say free of reproduction in whole or in part provided that this paragraph is reproduced following it. Insolentiae.com is the site on which Charles Sannat expresses himself daily and delivers an impertinent and uncompromising analysis of economic news. Thank you for visiting my site. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter free of charge at www.insolentiae.com. »

Source Dawn Digitale and Financial Times here

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