Taiwanese airspace has been buzzed by Chinese airplanes as part of huge drill which has been seen by the island as a rehearsal for invasion but the US has pledged to defend the nation
China has threatened to ‘strike any time’ on US troops in Taiwan amid fears the attack would spark a global war, according to reports.
President Xi Jinping has pledged “reunification” with the area while Beijing responded to revelations US forces are training troops in Taiwan.
China and Taiwan are at loggerheads because it is feared the Communist giant may try to reclaim the island and prompt fears World War Three could break out.
Taiwanese airspace has been visited hundreds of times by Chinese warplanes as part of huge drill which has been seen by the island as a rehearsal for invasion.
The US has pledged to defend Taiwan and its independence
But America will faces a devastating choice to defend the nation or risk conflict
Taiwan insists it is a independent nation after splitting from mainland China in 1949.
But one of China’s top newspapers The Global Times has issued a chilling warning to the US.
It claimed US special forces operating in Taiwan were tantamount to an “invasion” of mainland China.
And it warned “once a war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, those US military personnel will be the first to be eliminated”.
“The mainland has the right to carry out military strikes against them at any time,” said the vicious editorial published on Friday.
It said the US faces “unbearable” losses if it decides to defend Taiwan and taunted Washington over its failures in Afghanistan.
AFP via Getty Images)
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“We must let them know they are playing with fire to provoke a war and the consequences their acts will bring are unbearable to both the US and Taiwan,”
“We must make Washington understand that it is playing a dangerous game that is destined to draw fire onto itself and it is risking the lives of young US soldiers.”
President Xi’s editorial described a military attack on Taiwan as an “increasingly realistic option”.
The editorial also argued that the US presence will “accelerate” China’s potential military action against Taiwan as it only “reinforce[s] the mainland’s resolve to realize reunification by force”.
China’s president Xi however meanwhile vowed to ensure “reunification” with Taiwan – but omitted mentioning a use of force.
Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Saturday, Xi said the China had a “glorious tradition” of defeating anyone it perceives as “separatists”.
He said: “Taiwan’s independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation.”
Xi went on: “Reunification through a peaceful manner is the most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots.
“No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”
He struck a more measured tone than his previous pledges to “smash” any attempts by Taiwan to win independence by using forces.
Taiwan’s leader Su Tseng-chang, meanwhile, blamed China for inflaming tensions and accused it of “flexing its muscles”.
Su said: “This is why countries that believe in freedom, democracy and human rights, and based on shared values, are all working together and have repeatedly warned that China should not invade Taiwan.”
But despite Chinese warnings it has been warned Beijing faces its own Vietnam if it attempts to invade Taiwan.
To capture the island, China would have to ship an enormous number of troops across the Taiwan Strait.
The Sun said it would be “the largest amphibious operation in human history”,
Taiwan has 13 beaches suitable for landing and analysts have described such an invasion as “Z-Day”.
Ian Easton, author of ‘The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia’, fears Xi’s words of war could lead him sleepwalk into an invasion.
He told The Sun: “If he is sane, Xi Jinping will think hard before ordering an attack on Taiwan and realize how quickly events could spin out of his control.”
“But can we really trust a dictator who stands accused of genocide to act in a rational manner? That seems unwise.”