Are the US and China headed for an island war?

Beijing has offered its sternest reaction to the US president’s warnings about Taiwan, vowing it will “resolutely destroy any attempt” to secede from China.

General Wei Fenghe, China’s defense minister, essentially slammed the United States for “violating its commitment to Taiwan,” claiming it was “interfering” in China’s internal affairs.

“We will combat anyone who attempts to separate Taiwan from China, to be clear. We will fight till the bitter end, no matter what the cost. China has no other option. “In Singapore, he spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a meeting on Asian security.

President Joe Biden recently warned China that flying airplanes close to Taiwan was “flirting with peril,” and his remarks echo that message. The island’s military would be ready to defend it in the event of an attack.

China has long claimed Taiwan, a self-declared sovereign republic. Nonetheless, the United States is Taiwan’s most important friend, and the law mandates that it aid defend the island in any way possible.

Chinese warplanes have flown into Taiwan’s air defense zone regularly, while the US has deployed naval ships into Taiwan’s waters, escalating the tension.

Keeping an eye on the prize

One main concern is that if China invades Taiwan, it will start a war. Beijing has already stated that it is prepared to use force to recapture the island.

Most experts, however, believe that this is unlikely at this time.

Whether China has the military capabilities to invade successfully has been a topic of discussion, and Taiwan has significantly increased its air and sea defenses.

However, many believe that Beijing is aware that such a move would be extremely costly and disastrous for the entire world, not just China.

“Despite all the hyperbole, the Chinese must keep a close eye on the distance if they plan on launching an invasion of Taiwan. Compared to Russia’s economy, China’s is significantly more globally networked “senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, William Choong.

The Ukraine conflict has raised questions about China’s intentions.

Regarding Taiwan, China has always maintained a posture of “peaceful reunification” with the island, which Gen Wei underlined on Sunday.

Taiwan’s formal declaration of independence is likely to serve as a catalyst. However, Tsai Ing-wen refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is already an independent state when it comes to its president.

The majority of Taiwanese support the “maintaining the status quo” position, although an increasing minority say they wish to progress toward independence.

Furthermore, the United States has frequently stated that they do not want to be lured into a costly military fight in Asia and would want to avoid it at all costs.

When asked about US backing for Taiwanese independence or a “new Cold War,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said neither during his statement at the Dialogue.

“In Taiwan, both sides are clinging to their beliefs, and they need to appear tough, and they don’t want to be perceived as retreating or reversing course. “According to S Rajaratnam School of International Studies research scholar Collin Koh:

“At the same time, though, they are extremely wary of getting involved in a full-blown fight. Neither side is taking any chances, and they’re keeping an eye on each other’s rhetoric.”

Both Gen Wei and Mr. Austin met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue to indicate that “they are still prepared to sit down and talk it out, come to a resolution, and agree to disagree,” according to Mr. Koh.

For him, a “reinvigoration of dialogue” had been lacking under Donald Trump’s administration because there were no active discussions between the two militaries. This would lessen the likelihood of on-the-ground blunders leading to a conflict.

As a result, the rhetoric between China and the United States will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Ian Chong, a China expert at Singapore’s National University of Singapore, said China might scale up its “grey zone warfare” to exhaust Taiwan’s military and patience, such as sending additional warplanes or disinformation campaigns.

Polls on Taiwan’s main island are scheduled for December, and the island has previously accused China of launching disinformation 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 US elections in November and China’s 20th Communist Party congress, where President Xi Jinping is expected to solidify his hold on power later this year.

Dr. Chong states, “the bright side is that neither side is willing to escalate.”

“Non-escalation does not guarantee that we will be in a better position. As a result, we’ll all be here for a while.”