Top Republican says odds of US military conflict with China ‘extremely high’

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The chances of a conflict with China over Taiwan are very high, a top Republican in the U.S. Congress said on Sunday. Over the next two years.

In a memo dated Feb. 1 but released Friday, Gen. Mike Minihan, who heads the Air Mobility Command, wrote to its roughly 110,000-member leadership, “My gut tells me we will be fighting in 2025.”

“I believe he was wrong. … But I think he’s right,” Mike McCall, the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.

The general’s comments did not represent the Pentagon, but concern at the highest levels of the US military over a possible attempt to impose Chinese control over Taiwan, which China says is a renegade province.

The United States and Taiwan will hold presidential elections in 2024, creating an opportunity for China to take military action, Minihan wrote.

If China fails to take control of Taiwan without blood, McCall said, “they’re going to look at a military invasion in my judgment. We have to be prepared for this.”

He accused President Joe Biden’s Democratic administration of projecting weakness after withdrawing from Afghanistan, which could escalate a war with China.

“The chances are very high that we will see conflict with China and Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific,” McCall said.

The White House declined to comment on McCall’s comments.

The Democrats disagree

Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he disagreed with Minihan’s assessment.

Smith told Fox News Sunday that war with China “is not only inevitable, it’s not possible. We have a very dangerous situation in China. But I think the generals should be very cautious about saying we’re going to war, it’s inevitable. .”

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Smith said the U.S. should be in a position to deter China from taking military action against Taiwan, “but I absolutely believe we can avoid that conflict if we take the right approach.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier this month that he strongly suspected that the intensification of Chinese military activity near the Taiwan Strait was a sign of an imminent occupation of the island by Beijing.

A Pentagon official on Saturday said the general’s comments “do not represent the department’s view on China.”

Report by Rose Colvin; Additional reporting by David Lauder; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Mark Porter

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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