- WASHINGTON EXAMINER Oct 15, 2020 -
Chinese officials have issued an array of signals that raise the prospect of a conflict involving the People’s Liberation Army and American allies as the U.S.-China rivalry grows more overt.
“We've already seen one, a very limited one, but a not-insignificant number of people were killed along the line of actual control with another nuclear-armed state,” former Defense Department strategist Elbridge Colby said.
That clash between Indian and Chinese forces has contributed to New Delhi’s desire to work with the United States and other democratic nations to curb Beijing’s ability to threaten neighboring countries in isolation. Chinese officials have decried a so-called Quad — comprised of the United States, Australia, India, and Japan — as a “mini-NATO” that threatens regional security, but the rising communist power hasn’t shied from flaunting the growing might of the Chinese military.
“Focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war, and stay highly vigilant,” China’s Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, said while visiting a military base this week.
Xi delivered that statement just days after live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, in a reminder of the mainland Chinese government’s ambition to gain control of the island, where a democratic government took root in the ashes of the government overthrown during the Chinese Communist revolution of 1949.
The base he visited lies in a Chinese province that borders Hong Kong, the de facto city-state that has endured an erosion of its autonomy from the mainland government in recent months, and the trip is taking place just weeks before a major Chinese Communist Party planning session.
The timing of the trip perhaps supports the idea that Xi’s martial rhetoric is more for “internal consumption” than a sign of impending conflict.
“There is a certain amount of a difference of opinion which exists in the Chinese system on how this administration of this regime in Beijing has actually performed under the emperor, Xi,” an Indo-Pacific official said, poking at Xi’s success in steering the party to eliminate term limits that would have prevented him from remaining in power for life.