Beijing wants to bring Taiwan under its control within the One China policy but experts have warned this could be the final ingredient to spark a w
Beijing wants to bring Taiwan under its control within the One China policy but experts have warned this could be the final ingredient to spark a war between Beijing and Washington. The South China Sea has seen both sides increase their military presence with many experts claiming a misstep in the region could spark a devastating clash. Michael Auslin, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in California has pinpointed Taiwan’s authority as the one scenario which could “precipitate” a full-scale conflict.
He said: “Taiwan is a different story.
“Everyone recognises that could precipitate a full out war with China if the US chose to uphold its commitments to Taiwan, which are ambiguous.
“But everyone is on a hair-trigger when it comes to the South China Sea.”
The US signed a mutual defence pact with Taiwan in order to stop China from taking over the region in 1979.
The island, however, stands within China’s ‘nine-dash line’ policy.
Under this policy, Beijing claims any territory or island chain as its own.
Like Taiwan, several island chains such as the Paracel and the Spratly archipelago are therefore claimed by Beijing.
China and the Philippines have clashed over the sovereignty of the Paracel Islands causing the US to increase its naval presence in the region.
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“Neither Beijing nor Washington will choose war, but I am very worried they could stumble.”
China’s navy is forecast to become the largest in the world by 2035.
Although US Navy vessels are more advanced, the growing mass of the People’s Liberation Navy may well shift the balance of power in the South China Sea, experts have warned.
David Ochamenek, a former military planner in the US Defense Department has claimed any conflict with Beijing in the region is becoming less favourable to the US.
Now involved in developing war game scenarios, Mr Ochamenek has stated over the next decade, more victories will develop for China.
He said: “So let’s say it was 2005.
“If we were to run a scenario for 2010, Chinese capabilities weren’t fully mature, and what you would see was a stand-off, not a clear-cut victory or defeat for either side, but still there were surprising numbers of casualties and losses to the United States.
“The lethality of Chinese forces was growing dramatically.
“As we advance the clock forward, and start to look at the balance in 2020, 2025, 2030 typically we were finding clear-cut victories for China.”