US and China relationship’s ‘most dangerous’ point is Taiwan – nuclear war fears

China deploying 'wartime' tactics on Taiwan says expert

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Bilahari Kausikan, a former Singapore senior diplomat, has said that he does not expect the disagreement over Taiwan to result in a conflict. “During the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, which lasted for 40 years, nuclear deterrence kept the peace at least between the two principals. I think it will again keep the peace between the US and China,” Kausikan told CNBC, referring to Taiwan as the “most dangerous” tension in their relationship.

Both nations have a nuclear arsenal at their disposal. In a report to Congress, Pentagon statistics suggest China’s may be relatively small – around the low 200s. The US has around 3,800 nuclear warheads.

Reuters have reported that China have started the construction of more than 100 new missile silos and the Pentagon expect their warhead stockpile to at least double.

The fact that both nations possess nuclear weapons may prevent the other from attacking in fear of nuclear retaliation.

Taiwan is a democratically ruled nation, however, China claims sovereignty over the island and has indicated plans on merging it with the mainland. There are concerns this will not happen peacefully.

China has not ruled out using force to achieve a desirable goal in regard to Taiwan.

This comes a week after Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi announced that the security of Taiwan is tied directly to Japan and stressed the importance of Japanese intervention in the case of conflict over Taiwan.

“The peace and stability of Taiwan are directly connected to Japan and we are closely monitoring ties between China and Taiwan, as well as Chinese military activity,” he told Bloomberg.

“As China strengthens its military, its balance with Taiwan is tipping heavily to the Chinese side.”

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It also follows the revelation that US and Japanese armed forces have been preparing for a potential conflict with China over Taiwan.

The two allies have been conducting joint military exercises and war games around the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, located 330 km (205 miles) from China and controlled by Japan.

Serious preparations for a conflict with China began in the last year of Donald Trump’s administration.

Yasuhide Nakayama, the Japanese deputy defence minister, spoke at the Hudson Institute think tank about the threat China poses to Taiwan.

He believes is necessary to “wake up” from Chinese pressure on the country and Japan has to “protect Taiwan as a democratic country”.

“We are not friends of Taiwan, we are brothers,” he said.

China has been planning to unite Taiwan with the mainland for many years now and Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister, is concerned about the global implications this integration will have.

“I think what we’ll then be moving into is a period which China will be looking at its options to leverage Taiwan back into a form of a political union with China by the time we get to the late 2020s and into the 2030s,” Rudd told CNBC.

“And that’s when I believe it does get dangerous for us all.”

US and Taiwan are currently working towards a trade deal, a likely source of more frustration in Beijing.
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