Taiwan conducts military drills to prepare for Chinese assault that could dwarf Ukraine: report

One need only look back to February to see how quickly unchecked rising tensions led from mere exercises to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and now as a similar trend takes place in East Asia, one scholar is warning drills preparing for an assault from China may soon prove warranted for the people of Taiwan.

Throughout northern Taiwan, a four-day civilian drill has kicked off reportedly in response to Chinese warnings against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) planning to visit the island nation. Mark Almond, director of the Crisis Research Centre, Oxford, expressed that the possibility of an attack from the mainland is “drawing closer by the hour.”

“Now, with China’s airforce and navy increasingly active around and over Taiwan,” he wrote for the Daily Mail, “all the signs are that [Chinese President Xi Jinping] is rehearsing an invasion of this tiny but geopolitically important island, with a population of just 29 million people (compared with 1.4 billion in China).”

“The most likely ‘excuse’ for an invasion would be a declaration of independence by the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen,” Almond went on. “Short of that, any recognition of Taiwan as a nation independent of China by the West, would fan the flames. (Indeed, following reports of a proposed visit by U.S. politician Nancy Pelosi last week, the Chinese warned that their response could involve ‘forceful measures.)”

“We are seriously prepared…If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the press Monday.

“The United States,” he added, “should be held responsible for any serious consequences.”

Ko Wen-je, the mayor of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, issued his own statement the same day air raid sirens were heard blaring across the city, “In recent years, Chinese military planes have frequently harassed Taiwan, and the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out in February this year. All these things make us understand the importance of being vigilant in times of peace and we need to be prepared if there is war.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, whose foreign policy fumbles have been demonstrated in the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the failure to deter the Russian invasion of Ukraine, faltered on the world stage again while visiting Japan in May.

“Look, here’s the situation,” he said. “We agree with the One China policy, but the idea that to be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”

“The risk of miscalculation on either side are heart-stoppingly high,” Almond contended as he laid out the ramifications for a Chinese assault on Taiwan that further concerns of open nuclear conflict, especially with the potential of North Korea seeing an opportunity to engage with South Korea.

In spite of the escalating aggression from China, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) encouraged Pelosi to move forward with plans to visit Taiwan while speaking at the America First Policy Institute’s America First Agenda Summit on Monday.

“I feel very strongly that Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan and that she should take a bipartisan congressional delegation. I can say this with some authority. I am the highest ranking American official ever to visit Taiwan,” he explained. “In 1997, I led a delegation, and John Dingell, the senior Democrat, was on the delegation. It was a truly bipartisan group.”

“I saw some article this morning that the Defense Department is very worried that Speaker Pelosi will somehow cause a problem if she goes to Taiwan. Well, my first suggestion is this: If the Department of Defense is not certain that it can protect an American Speaker of the House in a public visit, why would we think they could protect Taiwan?” Gingrich asked. “And if you’re the Chinese Communists, and you watch us flinch after the total mess in Afghanistan, the total mess in Ukraine, you begin to think this is an administration that’s just begging to be bullied.”

Ultimately, Almond warned, “President Biden and the West must continue to strike a delicate balance between showing support for Taiwan while not provoking Xi’s China into showing it is not afraid of us. It is a terrifying tightrope walk between the perils of appeasement and the calamitous consequences of war. And President Xi has to get it right as well as the West.”

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