China expert Gordon Chang has warned that the Chinese leadership are “clearly thinking about invading somebody” amid fears Xi Jinping could launch an invasion of Taiwan. Tensions in the South China Sea have been growing over China’s aggressive stance towards the US-allied island nation which Beijing desires to annex. Mr Chang believes the threat in the region is “growing ominous” with senior Chinese officials looking to protect themselves from possible western sanctions in the event of a future war.
Mr Chang told Fox Business: “This is getting ominous because the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that China is trying to sanction prove its senior officials.
“Now they wouldn’t do that unless they were thinking they were going to do something which we would impose sanctions on them, like invading Taiwan or some other nation.
“So the Chinese military is always constantly trying to improve itself to get itself more ready.
“Clearly they’re thinking about invading somebody.”
It comes as US President Joe Biden and his new South Korean counterpart agreed on Saturday to hold bigger joint military drills.
Mr Biden said the US-South Korean alliance was built on opposition to changing borders by force – an apparent reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s claims over Taiwan.
Although White House officials have sought to play down any explicit message of countering China, it is a theme of Biden’s trip and one that has caught the eye of Beijing.
“Jake Sullivan said that Biden’s trip to Asia is not aimed at confronting China,” Chinese envoy for Korean affairs Liu Xiaoming, said on Twitter, referring to Biden’s national security adviser.
“We hope that the US will match its words with deeds and work with countries in the region to promote solidarity and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, instead of plotting division and confrontation.”
Last Thursday, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that President Biden may talk with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the coming weeks.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the coming weeks, President Biden and President Xi speak again,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Mr Sullivan spoke on Wednesday with Yang Jiechi, a key foreign policy adviser to Xi, and said he was “direct with him about our concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities and our view that this is not in China’s interests.”
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“It’s not in America’s interests, and that China should contemplate taking whatever steps it can to reduce the possibility of a provocative North Korean act, … we had a good back and forth on that subject,” he said, adding that Taiwan and other issues were also discussed.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abandoned a freeze on intercontinental ballistic missile testing and appears poised to resume testing of nuclear bombs, adding to escalating regional tensions.
The United States also promised to deploy “strategic assets” – which typically include long-range bomber aircraft, missile submarines, or aircraft carriers – if necessary to deter North Korea.
Meanwhile, Beijing carried out military drills in the South China Sea to coincide with President Biden’s five day trip to Asia.