China signals intent for Taiwan decapitation

US and China could ‘sleepwalk into conflict’ says Lawrence Wong

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The news comes as China remains furious at a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island, sparking a mass reaction by Beijing, including live-fire exercises and diplomatic protests against the US. China has not ruled out military intervention when it comes to Taiwan. Should Taipei claim official independence from China, one defence official believes this would result in war.

The latest measures taken by China include regular daily breaches of the median line between the nations in the Taiwan Straits.

Known as the Median Line, the strategic point has been breached by multiple Chinese aircraft, sending an open message to Taiwan that Beijing will not stand down over the issue.

With the US blamed as the catalyst for the rising tension by China, US observers are said to be becoming nervous at China’s sabre-rattling show of force.

Analysts have pointed out that the regular incursions and increased activity in the Taiwan Strait are not just an exercise, but a “dress rehearsal for invasion.”

Bonny Lin, former country director for China at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Politico: “[Median line crossings] are just one indicator of how China wants to continue to project its power closer and closer to Taiwan.

“It starts normalizing these behaviours … [that could climax with] a large-scale military operation that seeks decapitation.”

This week, the US sailed two vessels along the Taiwan Strait, closely shadowed by Chinese destroyers in the process.

Speaking of the operation, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “The People’s Liberation Army conducted security tracking and monitoring of the US warships’ passage in the whole course, and had all movements of the US warships under control.”

Taiwan has stated China has increased its breaches in recent weeks.

Since August 6, Taiwan has recorded at least 94 violations of the line, although it has not been made clear as to the type of aircraft, nor whether any weapons were being carried in the process.

The median line, a relic of the 1954 US-Taiwan Mutual Defence Treaty, is designed to keep military aircraft from both sides of the Strait at a safe distance to prevent miscalculations that could lead to potential cross-Strait conflict.

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President Joe Biden has indicated his wish to send over £900m worth of arms sales to Taiwan’s defences.

Hung Hsiu-chu, former chairperson of the Kuomintang (KMT), the major opposition party on the island of Taiwan, said: “The increasing competing relationship between the Chinese mainland and the US, Taiwan will continue to be on the frontline of geopolitical wrestling and Taiwan could become an abandoned chess piece by the US at any time.”

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On a wider scale, China has sent large military parties to Russia to participate in the Vostok 22 exercises in the east of the country.

Moscow hopes the drills will further cement ties between Russia and China and will see the two powers join forces in the Sea of Japan in joint naval exercises.

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