China is preparing for war, warns retired general
China is preparing its military for a war against Taiwan, retired US Army Lieutenant General and former national security adviser HR McMaster has warned.
Relations between China and Taiwan have long been strained by the island’s push for independence, but have become even more strained in the face of increasingly aggressive Chinese leadership. Although Taiwan considers itself independent from China – and is recognized as a semi-autonomous state – China has claimed it as its own and sees control of the island as essential to its policy of reunification.
Amid rising tensions, McMaster said he believed China could be preparing for military action to take control of the island nation during an appearance on CBS News. Confront the Nation on Sunday – adding that Chinese President Xi Jinping, who won a historic third term last year, has made it clear he plans to retake Taiwan.
“Xi Jinping has made it clear in his statements that he will, from his perspective, reconstitute China by subsuming Taiwan,” McMaster said. “And preparations are underway.”
McMaster said the best way to prevent a full-scale military war against Taiwan is “deterrence”, adding that the United States, which already spends more than $1.6 trillion on defense, should invest even more in national security because it would be “much more expensive”. to respond to a war with China, which has one of the most powerful armies in the world and continues to seek to increase its influence in the Pacific region.
“China has become more and more aggressive, not only from an economic and financial perspective and from a wolf warrior diplomacy perspective, but physically, with its military,” McMaster said. “And what is really disturbing is, I think, that Xi Jinping is preparing the Chinese people for war.”
He pointed to some of Xi’s speeches, which have taken on a hardline tone in recent months, as evidence that the United States should take the threat of war more seriously and “extend our power.” It would also force allies to invest more in their national defence, which would have an additional deterrent effect, he added.
He said the US and its allies had to ‘be careful not to mirror their image’ or ‘fall into the same traps’ they encountered with Russia, which launched an invasion of Ukraine in February last.
McMaster’s warning follows other indications that China may be considering war in Taiwan. In November, The Guardian reported that Xi had told his army to “focus all energy on fighting” to prepare for a potential war.
“You all focus [your] the energy to fight, work hard to fight and improve [your] ability to win,” he reportedly said.
China-Taiwanese relations erupted last August after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a historic visit to Taiwan. At the time, Beijing issued several threats against his visit and launched military exercises around the island, raising fears of an escalation in the conflict.
Newsweek contacted the State Department for comment.