UK must defuse China-US tension or risk deadly war we may not win

Satellite images hint at possible Chinese air strikes against Taiwan

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Over recent months China has asserted its dominance in the global power structure. The eastern superpower sits on the brink of war after a record-breaking 38 Chinese military planes were spotted flying near its island neighbour, Taiwan.

This month, President Xi Jinping warned “war may be triggered at any time” and asked Taiwan’s democratic allies if they want to “become cannon fodder”.

US President Joe Biden said he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, about the island and they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”.

And an expert has warned it would be a mistake for the UK to become invovled in the dispute as it is a war “we may not win”.

Dr Lily Hamourtziadou, a senior lecturer in criminology and security studies at Birmingham University, told “Being the biggest US ally, the UK should be concerned about the increasing tensions between the two hegemonic powers, as China and the US could end up fighting, at the very least, the proxy wars we saw during the Cold War.

“UK governments tend to get Britain involved in such wars, conflicts and rivalries, but it would be a mistake to get involved in the current dispute.

“While the shift in global hegemonic structures – a shift away from North America and Western Europe and towards the emerging economies of Asia – is cause for concern and presents serious challenges for the West, the UK cannot afford to enter a war against such a powerful opponent.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it had sought clarification from the US about Mr Biden’s comments.

The US reassured their policy towards Taiwan had not changed and the US commitment with them was “rock solid”.

The Foreign Ministry said: “Facing the Chinese government’s military, diplomatic and economic threats, Taiwan and the United States have always maintained close and smooth communication channels.”

Fears have erupted over recent months that, under Xi Jinping, Beijing will use military force to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.

Dr Hamourtziadou went on to say if Taiwan is reunified with mainland China, it could lead to Western allies switching sides.

She added: “It would signal the beginning of the end of US hegemony in the region.

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“It could lead to US/Western allies switching sides, changing the balance of power in the region and globally.

“With China as the new superpower, the UK would also need to reconsider its alliances.

“As power changes hands and shifts from West to East, it impacts international stability and sets challenges for Western powers, which now need to decide what their new strategic interests are.”

Taiwan has long been a tense subject for China since a separate government was established on the island following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The nation remains an important ally of Western countries.

The Chinese military has warned it will “resolutely crush” any attempt to split Taiwan from China.

In a PLA’s daily commentary last week, the military expressed its confidence at “thwarting all external interference and separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence.”

They continued: “If the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces dared to split Taiwan from China in any name and by any means, the People’s Liberation Army will resolutely crush it at all costs.”

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