THE world will be standing at the “precipice of a devastating war” that has never been seen before if China threatens to launch a nuclear attack against the United States.
Sam Armstrong, of the Henry Jackson Society, told The Sun that relations between Washington and Beijing have "never been worse" as he claimed both sides have been locked in a new “Cold War” for at least the last three years.
US-China relations plunged to new lows during the Trump presidency.
Tariffs slapped onto both Chinese and American goods sparked a trade war, senior US Government officials accused Beijing of seeking “international domination”, and Trump stoked tensions by branding Covid-19 the “China virus”.
Meanwhile, wargames in the South China Sea – part of President Xi’s “quasi-imperialist” agenda – have intensified as Beijing doesn’t recognize the sovereignty claims of Taiwan, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the region.
China has often perceived Taiwan as a "renegade" state and has repeatedly vowed to take it back by force if necessary.
It’s thought that the formal declaration of independence would be the likely trigger for a potential conflict as Washington has tried to deter Beijing not to seize the island by force.
More than 100 fighter jets entered Taiwanese airspace in just three days last week, prompting fears that Beijing will be capable of mounting a full-scale attack within years.
Armstrong said: “What China is doing right now is irresponsible, it’s dangerous and it threatens to spill over from what is a localized conflict into a massive and deadly armed war.
"The very real risk of conflict isn’t just a threat in or around Taiwan, but to the people living in the US, its allies, and Europe.”
Armstrong added that he doesn’t foresee an imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan but warned that if a future conflict were to materialize Beijing would prioritize the Pratas Islands.
China would first deny that it has carried out an invasion before rapidly defending its position as Armstrong warned that the country would threaten nuclear retaliation if challenged by the West.
He said: “The moment that China makes a nuclear threat, the world is standing at the precipice of a nuclear war. A conflict between China and the United States would be the most devastating conflict we’ve ever seen.”
A conflict between China and the US would be the most devastating conflict we've ever seen.
Armstrong warned that if Beijing feels it can act with impunity, then a situation will arise where nuclear threats are being made.
He doesn't think China will make a nuclear threat but says the West has an "obligation" to ensure it doesn't happen.
President Joe Biden must continue to take a tough approach towards Beijing, according to Armstrong.
He added: "China will continue to push the boundaries wherever it can. China’s conduct is very predictable. What matters is what we do about it. They respond to hard incentives. Nothing more nothing less."
Biden has appeared to continue with Trump’s "combative" approach towards Beijing as he’s not immediately lifted tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, the New York Times reports.
'JOE MUST BE TOUGH'
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said: “For far too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world.”
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told NPR: “The Chinese need to play by the rules.”
Armstrong urged Biden to end the US’ dependency on Chinese imports as he believes that strategy would "devastate" Beijing’s economy and force officials back to the “negotiating table”.
He said: “Standing up and getting robust against China is the only way that we can avert a bloody, dangerous and devastating conflict the likes of which humanity has never seen in its history."
While the US has been bogged down in fighting wars in the Middle East over the past two decades, the Chinese state has invested billions in a bid to try and gain an advantage in the Pacific region.
Beijing has invested in hypersonic missiles that are designed to compete with the US Navy’s biggest ships.
The so-called "Carrier Killer" missile contains a rocket that flies to around 25 miles above the earth and then launches a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV).
The HGV travels at 10 times the speed of sound and experts believe only artificial intelligence and computer systems can stop them.
China is also developing a new advanced stealth bomber that's reportedly capable of hitting major US bases in the Pacific Ocean with nuclear weapons.
The 5000-mile range of the Xian H-20 means it can strike Guam and other key facilities.
Meanwhile, the WZ-8 drone can fly at up to five times the speed of sound and can spy on US forces at large distances.
The number of China's nuclear warheads is considerably less than its rivals such as the US and Russia, but Beijing continues to project its might.
Peter Gries, a Chinese politics expert at the University of Manchester, said: “Power is multifaceted – it’s not just nuclear weapons.
"In economics, trade, and investment, China has already demonstrated its rise in that area, and it projects its image as a major, economic global player.”
Armstrong claims: “China is back and it’s bringing the enemies of freedom back to the fore. The assured triumph of those who believe in the values the United States does is no longer guaranteed.
“We’re back in the Cold War. Only this time, the situation is worse for the west.
“It remains to be seen if we can do what is needed to keep the ‘Cold War’ cold and not allow it to grow hot.”
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