BEIJING, China – The biggest source of tension in relations between Beijing and Washington is the question of free navigation in the South China Sea and the status of Taiwan. These are the two main reasons that could trigger an armed confrontation between China and the United States, according to experts.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the country’s military to accelerate its training and prepare for a possible war, the South China Morning Post reported.
“All military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle,” said the country’s leader during a meeting with the administration of the Chinese Central Military Commission.
China’s armed forces must “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point”, he said. “Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”
Xi Jinping seeks to increase the Chinese Army’s defensive capability since the start of its warrant in 2012. The issue highlights that in 2019, the Chinese leader plans to step up activities in this direction.
Earlier, the Chinese military newspaper also warned troops to prepare for war .
The main areas of potential conflict are the South China Sea and Taiwan, which the Asian giant considers as its rebel province, which should rejoin Beijing.
The United States represents an opponent for Beijing in both areas. Washington insists on free navigation in the waters of the South China Sea, which would imply the possibility of carrying out patrol missions in the area.
In addition, the US expresses its support for Taiwan and opposes Beijing’s territorial claims. On the island there is no US embassy, however, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), in fact, carries out embassy functions.
In October 2018, two US Navy ships crossed the Taiwan Straits, causing concern to China.
At the same time, AIT director William Brent Christensen pointed out that any attempt to determine Taiwan’s future with non-peaceful means poses a threat to regional security and warned that the US will not allow that to happen.
Meanwhile, retired Chinese People’s Liberation Army (FARC) Colonel Yue Gang has suggested that the US does nothing more than seek pressure on Beijing in the context of the Sino-US trade war.
“Over the coming year, the US might use Taiwan and the South China Sea as bargaining chips to get what it wants from China with regards to the trade war,” he said. “And there is always the possibility of increased independence calls from Taiwan.”