Chinese state media have threatened a “strike at any time” as fears of an imminent invasion of US troops in Taiwan.
President Xi Jinping has promised “reunification” with the separatist enclave as Beijing reacts with fury to the Pentagon’s revelation that US forces are training troops in Taiwan.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have peaked as it fears the Communists may attempt to reclaim the island it claims.
Chinese warplanes are flying over Taiwan’s airspace in record numbers, as part of a massive exercise widely seen as a rehearsal for the invasion.
America has always pledged to defend Taiwan.
But if China did attack, Washington would face a disastrous choice about risking a potential global war with Beijing.
Taiwan maintains that it is an independent nation after separating from mainland China in 1949.
And in the latest round of fiery rhetoric, The Global Times, one of China’s top newspapers – often seen as the unfiltered mouthpiece of the Communist Party – issued a scathing warning to the US.
It argued that US special forces in Taiwan were akin to an “invasion” of mainland China.
And it warned that “once war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, those US military personnel will be the first to be eliminated”.
“The mainland has the right to launch military strikes against them at any time,” said a vicious editorial published on Friday.
The 929-word article also said it would suffer “unbearable” losses if the US decided to engage in war to defend Taiwan and taunted Washington over its failures in Afghanistan.
“We must tell them that they are playing with fire to incite war and the consequences of their actions will be intolerable for both the US and Taiwan,” it raged.
“We must convince Washington that it is playing a dangerous game that is destined to set itself on fire and that it is putting the lives of young American soldiers at risk.”
It’s playing a dangerous game that’s destined to set itself on fire and is putting the lives of young American soldiers at risk
The Global Times
And in a break from more public comments by President Xi, the editorial described a military attack on Taiwan as an “increasingly realistic option”.
The editorial also argued that the US presence would “accelerate” China’s potential military action against Taiwan because it is only “stronger”.[s] The resolve of the mainland to realize reunification by force”.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi vowed to ensure “reunification” with Taiwan – but did not mention the use of force.
Speaking on Saturday at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi said China had a “great tradition” of defeating anyone as “separatists”.
He said: “Taiwan’s independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving homeland reunification, and the most serious hidden threat to national rejuvenation.”
Xi continued: “Reunification in a peaceful manner is in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwanese compatriots.
“No one should underestimate the determination, determination and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The historic task of complete integration of the Motherland must and must be accomplished.”
He struck a more measured tone than his previous promises of “smashing” any attempt by Taiwan to win independence using forces.
And speaking before Xi, Taiwan’s leader Su Tseng-chang accused China of fueling tensions and accused the country of “flexing its muscles”.
Su said: “This is why countries that believe in freedom, democracy and human rights, and are based on shared values, are all working together and repeatedly warned that China should not invade Taiwan.” should do.”
However, despite the Chinese blasts, there have been warnings that Beijing could face a “Vietnam War” if it tries to invade Taiwan.
China’s military dwarfs Taiwan on paper – but they face killzone beaches, hostile territory and a 500,000-strong guerrilla army could launch a Vietnam War-style offensive on Beijing.
To successfully capture the island, China would have to send a huge number of troops, as well as supplies, across the 80-mile Taiwan Strait.
The operation will be the largest amphibious operation in human history, easily surpassing the scale of the D-Day landings.
But when they reach Taiwan, the Chinese will have to gain a much stronger back defense than the significant natural barriers faced by the Allies in World War II.
Taiwan has a rugged coastline with steep cliffs, making only 13 beaches suitable for landing that have been converted into killing zones.
Analysts have coined the term “Z-Day” to refer to the theoretical Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
Ian Easton, author of The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, fears Xi’s saber rattle could propel him into the attack.
He added: “If he is wise, Xi Jinping will think a lot before ordering an attack on Taiwan and realize how quickly events can get out of his control.”
“But can we really trust a dictator who stands to act rationally on a charge of genocide? It seems unwise.”
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