State-run media outlets in China are now publicly advocating “using force” for reunification with Taiwan after Donald Trump warned of hostilities towards Beijing. Trump’s recent comments about to dismantling the “One China” policy triggered war preparations in China. If China does use force against Taiwan, it could easily result in World War 3.
The state-run media outlet Global Times, which sticks closely to the policies of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said it’s time for China to start preparing for war.
“It might be time for the Chinese mainland to reformulate its Taiwan policy, make the use of force as a main option and carefully prepare for it,” the state-run news outlet wrote in an editorial on Thursday.
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While the Global Times serves as a mouthpiece for the Chinese leadership’s plans for foreign affairs, China’s war worries come just days after Trump publicly slammed the One China policy.
Taiwan issue can lead to World War 3
A few weeks ago, the U.S. President-elect broke America’s four-decades-long diplomatic protocol and created chaos in U.S. diplomatic relations by just taking one congratulatory call. That call came from the President of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.
China claims Taiwan is part of its national territory and has had a decades-long policy of devouring Taiwan under its rule. China considers Taiwan a very sensitive domestic issue, and much like with the South China Sea issue, Beijing doesn’t want foreign powers to mess with its territorial integrity.
The much-talked about One China policy refers to the view that only one “China” can exist. Right now, the People’s Republic of China (PRC, which most of the world refers to as China) and the Republic of China (ROC, which most of the world refers to as Taiwan) claim to be China.
Under the One China policy, nations having diplomatic relations with the PRC must break official ties with the ROC. And while the U.S. has recognized the mainland as the “sole legal government” of China since the normalization of ties between Washington and Beijing in 1979, on Sunday, Trump said there was no reason for the U.S. to be bound by the One China policy.
Trump also indicated that the policy can be used as a bargaining chip to be traded off for other things from China, including trade. Trump has long accused Beijing of being a “currency manipulator” and pledged to slap Xi Jinping’s nation with huge tariffs on imported goods.
While such measures jeopardize the current peaceful state of relations between Washington and Beijing, many say Beijing would be prepared to start an all-out trade war with the U.S. if Trump delivers on his presidential campaign promises to impose big tariffs on the Asian nation.
China warns of military “punishment” for Taiwan
But now Beijing is openly advocating using force against Taiwan.
“If the Chinese mainland won’t pile on more pressure over realizing reunification by using force, the chance of peaceful unification will only slip away,” Global Times wrote on Thursday.
Although the news outlet didn’t explain what it meant by “using force” or “peaceful reunification,” the editorial talked about the “use of force” more than once throughout the piece. The Global Times, however, added that it’s Washington’s fault that Beijing is considering new measures against Taiwan. While the editorial said that “peace in the Taiwan Straits” shouldn’t be “disrupted,” it also warned that the mainland should “display its resolution” to “recover” Taiwan by using force.
“Peace does not belong to cowards,” Global Times added.
The Chinese piece also warned that Beijing would have to “militarily punish” Taiwanese independence forces if they decide to violate the Anti-Secession Law, which says if the Taiwanese disrupt the “possibilities for a peaceful reunification…the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The law’s ambiguous terms allow Beijing to decide on its own what those “non-peaceful means” are. Trump’s starting to deal with Taiwan or using the One China policy as his bargaining chip on trade could be considered in China to be threats to its national interests.
Washington has supported the policy since it broke off ties with Taiwan and officially declared it was set on the path to normalizing relations with the mainland. But Trump’s undermining of Washington’s position on the policy may indeed force Beijing to react militarily. The U.S. still has a huge military edge over China, which is why Beijing has little to zero chances of defeating Washington in a war.
However, China has been ramping up its cyber-war capabilities, which may serve as an unexpected determining factor during a modern-era military confrontation. ValueWalk recently compared China and the U.S. in terms of their military and economic capabilities.
Beijing warns of “military assistance” to U.S. enemies
While diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China have been growing since Trump was elected to be the next U.S. President last month, experts started seriously mulling over the possibility of direct military confrontation between the two economic superpowers only after Trump took that congratulatory call from Taiwan’s president.
But Trump’s recent pro-Taiwan, anti-Beijing rants were the last straw for China, as the nation’s state-run media outlets have overwhelmingly ramped up their anti-U.S., anti-Taiwan rhetoric. In fact, earlier this week, one of Beijing’s state-run media outlets warned Trump that if he sides with Taiwan or uses the One China policy as a bargaining chip on trade, China would “offer support” and even “military assistance to US foes.”
China’s war preparations against the U.S.
While China feels threatened by the hostile policies of the upcoming Trump administration, does it mean Beijing is certain it would defeat the U.S. if they engage in a military confrontation? Hardly so. All it means is that Beijing is far too sensitive about issues of national interest, and the South China Sea and the Taiwan issue are two very serious issues Beijing doesn’t want other nations to get involved in.
But the U.S. has been actively getting involved in the two issues lately, and Beijing cannot help but feel vulnerable. Earlier this week, a U.S. think tank issued new satellite images that show China has installed new weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on the artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. The news comes just days after the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said Washington is ready to confront Beijing if Xi’s nation continues overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea.