This year has been quite the year for historic issues. It has been one of Global attention on the Pandemic of COVID-19, a rise in pseudo power of ANTIFA, and finger-pointing at China as Ground Zero of the outbreak.
These blinding events have certainly served their purpose; 393,721 lives worldwide have been lost to COVID-19 to date according to Statista.
This pandemic has caused many nations of the world to close down; in so doing, each country has been taken to the brink of economic collapse.
Who would have guessed that China hadn’t slowed their ambitions for Global Economic and Military Dominance? As the pandemic was spreading around the nations of the world, events were unfolding with the military movements China has been undertaking.
Xi Jinping tells the Chinese military to prepare for war. Is it against India, the US, or Taiwan?
Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked the PLA to prepare for war without specifying who is the enemy. China is currently engaged in intense territorial disputes with India, Taiwan, and also the US.
India Today – May 27, 2020
Prabhash K Dutta
Howsoever unusual it may sound, Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to prepare for war even though the Covid-19 threat is not clearly over.
Xi Jinping, as quoted by state news agency Xinhua, said, “It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war because epidemic control efforts have been normalized.”
‘It is necessary to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions,’ said Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the week-long sitting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the national parliament of China.
This follows a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by $178 billion — or 6.6 percent — over last year’s allocation.
Xi Jinping’s direction to the Chinese military to be battle-ready has come at a time when tension is growing between India and China in Ladakh and Sikkim sectors, and also at the Lipulekh tri-junction with Nepal.
China is understood to have played a role in the recent assertion by Nepal over Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.
The situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh is tense. Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.
The tension began on May 5, when around 250 soldiers from the Indian and Chinese sides engaged in a face-off. Over two days, some 100 soldiers from both sides received injuries.
Reports also suggested that the Chinese had “detained” some Indian soldiers for a few hours. The two sides agreed to disengage after a meeting between local commanders.
China has opposed Indian construction on its side of the LAC, calling it a violation of the agreement to maintain the status quo in the region till the boundary question is settled. China claims parts of Ladakh as its own territory. It occupied Aksai Chin during the 1962 war.
China has been posturing aggressively since Ladakh was granted Union Territory status in 2019 following the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir.
India is undertaking road construction and infrastructure building activities in villages near the LAC as development work as well as to boost its strategic position. China has already built heavy infrastructure on the other side of LAC.
Currently, both sides are ramping up their presence in Ladakh in what looks like a replay of Doklam in 2017 at a tri-junction with Bhutan. Doklam had seen a message being sent following a meeting between Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the militaries of the two countries from their leadership to make all efforts to avoid confrontation.
It should be noted that the Chinese One Belt One Road (OBOR) has road and railway systems under construction. The Chinese plans were to connect to the railway under construction by the Indian Government along or nearing the OBOR route.
These actions are odd at best considering the financial genesis of OBOR. This was called the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa), a financial entity of the Bank of China. The BRICS original agenda was to help each other, with loans and trade, to create Economic Development Projects.
In Sikkim, Chinese troops engaged in a physical brawl with Indian soldiers near the Naku La pass. This happened on May 9, four days after the face-off in Ladakh. Around 150 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in the face-off, leaving 10 soldiers injured on both sides.
On the Lipulekh tri-junction, India is likely to step up its military presence to secure its interests in case China turns aggressive directly or by fronting Nepal. The ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) has been guarding the Kalapani and Lipulekh areas.
It appears as though China has India already engaged in tit-for-tat military exchanges in an area between the two countries, disputes of what territory belongs to whom. These skirmishes may be the “catalyst” for the fighting, but there is also the OBOR interest in and around the same area.
Is this a precursor for more intense Chinese military action in India? The area of India where the two countries are engaging is a strategic location for China to extend its OBOR project.
However, the location and scope of the skirmishes about this project are relatively small compared to the Chinese Infrastructure Projects in India that are under construction or already built. Most of these projects are designed to complete trade routes and support systems en route to the Indian Ocean.
A campaign in India would seem to be more of a long-term prospect to attain the goals China is seeking — “Global Economic and Military Dominance.”
Next item on the menu of Chinese military planning is a move against Taiwan aka the Republic of China (ROC).
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Taiwan was worth $605 billion in 2019 and accounts for 0.50 percent of the world economy, according to official data from the World Bank and projections from Trading Economics.
Taiwan’s economy is not the only prize for China. However, the trading lanes would be the ultimate prize. Both countries currently use the sea lanes for their respective trade to the world.
Continuing (India Today – May 27, 2020) —
China has also protested two MPs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sending congratulatory messages to Tsai Ing-wen, who recently won her second term as the president of Taiwan.
China does not recognize Taiwan, emphasizing on the One-China policy. Its stated goal is to unify Taiwan with China, even by force if necessary.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has chosen a pro-independence leader — Tsai — for the second consecutive time. Under Tsai, Taiwan has been focusing on strengthening its defense against suspected Chinese aggression.
To boost its military preparedness, Taiwan conducted an ambitious test-fire of a missile in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak in April. The missile, when developed, can hit targets deep inside China.
For many years Taiwan and China have tested military games in the straits between the two countries. What if Taiwan is the target of the Chinese military build-up?
The Taiwan Straits, also known as the Formosa Straits, is a major corridor with $3.4 trillion in trade for many of the world’s trade and supply passages to other trading partners.
If Taiwan and its military are attacked, Taiwan is well prepared to defend itself in a small campaign. However, a large Chinese attack has the potential to overtake Taiwan as well as choking off trade through the Taiwan Straits.
Under Tsai, Taiwan has struck defense deals with the US, purchasing F-16 fighter jets worth $8 billion and also over $2 billion pact for missiles for its army and navy.
There have been reports that China is preparing to forcibly occupy Taiwanese islands in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims at its sovereign water territory. A simulation video released by China recently heightened the speculation that it is planning to seize Taiwanese islands. China has planned a massive naval drill in nearby sea waters in the coming months.
The Chinese Military planners are also preparing strategies for the inevitable — The United States of America. From an outsider’s look, this would be won by the U.S.
Most of the world would feel a war between the two most powerful countries may cause a considerable amount of fear of Global Destruction.
Taiwan’s economy is not the only prize China would ultimately seize, it would give the Chinese an advantage. Sea routes, such as the Taiwan Strait, could be under the control of the Chinese Navy.
If China were to take full control of Taiwan and its waters, a major part of world trade would collapse.
Trump’s policies have led to an intense U.S.-China trade war since 2018. The US’s refusal to acknowledge the Chinese claim of the South and East China Seas have prompted China to claim that it faces a security threat from the Trump regime.
The war of words over the Covid-19 outbreak has further aggravated the tension between the US and China. Trump has openly accused China of spreading the pandemic to whole world, and feels it should be held accountable. Trump went on to say he does not feel like talking to Xi Jinping, and even poking China over pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
US air force bombers have conducted about 40 sorties over the South and East China Seas this year. They had run only about a dozen flights through 2019. The US navy has conducted what it calls ‘freedom of navigation operations’ four times already in the two seas, drawing an angry reaction from China.
China says it faces real security threats from countries engaging in unilateral action to challenge its sovereign interests. This is the same argument that China uses against both India and the U.S. to justify its assertion on contested territorial claims.
Against this backdrop, Xi Jinping has left many guessing his real intention behind making public through a state-run news agency his message to the Chinese military to be combat-ready. Does China really want a war? If so, against whom? And, why in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic?
At this time the U.S. is not likely to be a target of military action due to the size and scope entailed. The Chinese military may be many in numbers, but their weaponry, even the stolen technologies, is not powerful enough to attack the US.
To end this article, it is worth reminding readers that the financial impact of a full war on the U.S. would not be in China’s best interest at this time.
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