The People’s Republic of China is stepping up its military preparations for a possible war with the United States.
An official commentary from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a Chinese newspaper states that chances of war are “more real” because of Donald J. Trump’s presidency.
The fear in Beijing is that disputes over the South China Sea and arguments over Taiwan might lead to military conflict. China is in the midst of a major military buildup and also opposes a proposed U.S. missile defense system in South Korea. China is building artificial islands in the South China Sea, which it claims is not international waters despite what an international court ruled in 2016.
“‘A war within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality,” a PLA press release in January stated.
China’s navy even is conducting exercises on the high seas in response to statements by incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, The China Morning Post reported.
“There are flowers around the gate of China’s Ministry of Commerce, but there are also big sticks hidden inside the door — they both await Americans,” a Jan. 5 editorial in the Chinese Global Times warned. That paper is part of the People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Tillerson, during his confirmation hearing before senators, issued a warning to China about the artificial islands.
“Building islands and then putting military assets on those islands is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea. It’s taking of territory that others lay claim to,” Tillerson said. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”
A commentary in the People’s Daily in January said that China would conduct military exercises in the South China Sea no matter what other countries say.
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