China: Xi Jinping’s tactics in Pacific discussed by Andrews
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The US has warned China against firing missiles over Taiwan as fears mount that Beijing is planning to invade the island nation, which it sees as a Chinese province that must be reunified with China. On Tuesday America’s Seventh Fleet commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas dubbed China’s actions “a gorilla in the room” and cautioned against them being allowed to become the norm. Taiwan acknowledged China had fired missiles, without giving further details, while the Japanese embassy in Washington said four missiles launched by Beijing passed over the capital Taipei.
Beijing’s sabre rattling is part of the military drills it has conducted in busy shipping lanes off Taiwan in recent weeks, some of which were interpreted as a protest at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.
Despite the military threats from Chinese President Xi, the leader has been left embarrassed by the lack of “initiative” which prevails among his troops, according to a US military expert.
Dr John Callahan, a former diplomat and State Department spokesperson, now works as a military adviser and a dean at New England College in the US.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “There is no reason to think that a Chinese non-commissioned officer is going to show any more initiative than a Russian one right now.
“They are big, and they have a lot of potential strength. But can they use it effectively, beyond just a massive bombardment, like the Russians are doing?”
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Despite the potential inabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army, the US has said that Taiwan risks being seized by Beijing, as it has done with smaller islands in the South China Sea.
The warning came from Vice Admiral Thomas, who told reporters in Singapore: “It is very important that we contest this type of thing.
“I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan.
“It is irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters.
“If you don’t challenge it… all of a sudden it can become just like the islands in the South China Sea [that] have now become military outposts.
“They now are full functioning military outposts that have missiles on them, large runways, hangers, radars, listening posts.”
Dr Callahan has been following events in both Taiwan and Ukraine, which Russia invaded on February 24.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced major difficulties during the war so far as his army has lost as many as 43,000 troops, according to Ukraine.
The Kremlin strongman’s invasion has also stalled due to Ukraine’s geography and the fierce resistance of Ukrainian fighters.
Dr Callahan has suggested that Xi would have an easier route to victory in Taiwan than Putin has had in Ukraine.
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The academic said: “The difference between Taiwan and Ukraine is that the Ukrainians have space to trade for time, which they are doing.
“They were not pushed out of any of the locations in the last few weeks, like Severodonetsk or Luhansk.
“They pulled out. They weren’t pushed out. And they have an ability to trade space for time, because they are a big country and Russian logistics are terrible.
“Taiwan does not have that luxury. And so, part of this is that the West’s response would need to be very quick.
“Even a fumbling bear could swallow up Taiwan, because it is small, before there was a chance to do much about it.”
However, Dr Callahan also stressed a note of caution over China, with the country’s army vastly outnumbering Taiwan’s.
He said: “We cannot be dismissive of China because they have incredible capacity for destruction.”
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