Taiwan: China watched ‘very closely’ by US as military threat grows – all you need to know

Political Analyst Prof Joe Siracusa says US 'can't win' war over Taiwan

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China and Taiwan have long been at loggerheads over the future of the island, which is not universally recognised as an independent nation. Hostility between the two has steadily increased in recent years, and Chinese military violations of Taiwan’s airspace and sea boundaries are regular.

US General Mark Milley told the BBC that China is readying its army to make a move on Taiwan – and the US is keeping a watchful eye on the situation which could escalate quickly.

He said: “In terms of capability I think China clearly is developing a capability. President Xi [Jinping] has mentioned that in public forums, he’s mentioned it in speeches, that he has challenged the PLA [China’s People’s Liberation Army] to develop the capability to attack Taiwan at some point in time.”

General Milley added: “There’s no indications or warnings of anything imminent at this time. But again, we watch it very, very closely,”.

US President Joe Biden has previously defended Taiwan and said America would come to its aid in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Speaking to Express.co.uk last month, Professor Steve Tsang, Director at the SOAS China Institute, explained Mr Xi is definitely planning to take Taiwan – by force if necessary.

He said: “Xi Jinping fully intends to take Taiwan when he is ready. If Taiwan surrenders and says it wants to be a part of China, then there is nothing the Americans can do.

“If they do not surrender then he will do whatever it takes. The PLA is preparing to do what it is asked.”

A Chinese attack on Taiwan would put the United States and China against each other in an uncontrolled armed conflict and could have catastrophic consequences for the world.

China and the US are some of the highest military spenders on the planet and are each armed with hundreds of nuclear missiles.

Beijing has consistently spoken about Taiwan in terms of reunification and appears to be setting the stage for making a move on the island in the future.

In October last year, Mr Xi spoke at an event marking the anniversary of China’s last imperial dynasty and described his plans for Taiwan.

He said: “The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”

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Taiwan is part of the “first island chain” group of countries which the US considers being key allies in Asia, including Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

China taking control of Taiwan would give Beijing more power in the region and could lead to further conflicts – militarily or economically – as China flexes its muscles and sets itself up to become the world’s global superpower.

China and Taiwan split after World War Two when communists took over in mainland China and nationalists fled to Taiwan.

Only 13 countries recognise Taiwan as an independent nation and China uses its power to limit support for the country.

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