An article on the Chinese Army’s website describes a current time in which tensions with the United States continue to escalate. Due to these rising tensions, the article further states that “The possibility of war increases.”
The article was written on January 20, which was the day of Trump’s inauguration. In the article, Liu Guoshun, a member of the national defense mobilization unit of China’s Central Military Commission, describes the circumstances surrounding North Korea and the South China Sea as an increasing threat.
“‘A war within the president’s term’, ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, but the reality,” Liu said in the Chinese commentary piece.
While the words send a clear message to the United States, Ian Bremmer, who is the president and founder of global political risk consultancy, Eurasia group, believes that the words are merely a warning, rather than a showing of their strengths.
“The Chinese government is quite concerned about the potential for direct confrontation with the Trump administration,” Bremmer told CNBC by email.
“Chinese officials are preparing for the worst,” Bremmer continued, “and they expect to retaliate decisively in response to any U.S. policies they perceive as against their interests.”
Apparently, the Chinese fear that new policies implemented by the newly inaugurated President Trump could pose a potential threat to their overall well-being. If a threat is perceived as imminent, they could, of course, retaliate back against the U.S.
Just recently, in an interview with NBC, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Richard Engel that they would not negotiate on a One China Policy. Furthermore, they made it quite clear that the Trump administration had no business in the South China Sea. Such comments followed a statement made on the prior day, in which Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary had stated that “the U.S is going to make sure we protect our interests,” in the South China Sea.
You can watch the NBC interview here:
While China maintains that they have claims to the territory in which the South China Sea resides, South Korea has disputed that and turned to American aid to assist in protecting their interests in the international waters.
CNBC reported that “The U.S. needs China’s cooperation to keep North Korea’s nuclear threats in check. But challenges to the U.S.’s ‘One China policy’ that does not officially recognize Taiwan’s independence — a red-line issue for Beijing — could also add to tensions.”
Issues surrounding the One China Policy, the South China Sea, as well as trade have all played a role in the rising tensions between China and the U.S.
“China doesn’t want trouble with the U.S., especially not in the run up to their own leadership transition this fall,” Bremmer told CNBC. “But if it comes, they want President Trump to understand the consequences.”
Some analysts have speculated that China is merely taking advantage of the current disarray that the U.S is experiencing on the political forefront. While riots and debates have taken over the full attention of most U.S citizens, China could be sensing a weakness in the states and using it to send a message.
“When you have a country like China whose growth is slowing with massive debt, with concerns of its neighbors as it moves to become more powerful, I don’t know if it’s the right time for China to be strongly promoting its system relative to others.
“Democracy isn’t meant to be efficient,” Kennedy explained in an answer to Chinese criticisms. “It’s meant to reflect diversity, have checks and balances on power and proceed in a manner where everyone has a say.”
For now, China continues their show of strength to Taiwan, along with those present in the South China Sea. Tensions between this U.S and China are currently just in the talking stages, however, we could see the Chinese preparing for war if they assume a potential threat from the Trump administration. Especially, if Trump continues to assert interests in the South China Sea, or if Trump decides to recognize Taiwan as its own nation rather than included in the “One China Policy.” According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, those two topics are completely non-negotiable.