China has hit out at Taiwan after it welcomed the Governor of the US state of Indiana to Taipei on Sunday. Beijing lodged a “stern representation” over Eric Holcomb’s trip to the self-governing island nation, which Beijing views as part of China, and that it can seize by force if necessary. Welcomed by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, the governor was followed to Taiwan by a Japanese delegation and a US congressional delegation on Monday.
Speaking to Express.co.uk he explained: “Because if Russia pulls off some sort of convincing victory in Ukraine – which they won’t – that would certainly embolden China to act, and they would act.
“I think Xi is not the patient Chinese leader that all his predecessors were. I think he is a guy who wants to make his mark on history.
“It is personal to him. And I think the only thing holding China back is waiting to see how bad Russia gets their butt kicked in Ukraine.”
As the Ukraine war rages on, China remains Russia’s most important ally after Moscow has been shunned and sanctioned by much of the international community over the invasion.
Putin and Xi affirmed the partnership between their two nations a few weeks before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February.
The two authoritarian leaders spoke of their nations’ cooperation in Beijing ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
In a joint statement, they said: “Friendship between the two states has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.”
Despite China and Russia’s plans to collaborate in areas including climate change and space, Xi has not publicly expressed support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Chinese leader called for “maximum restraint” over the situation in March and said China was “pained to see the flames of war reignited in Europe”.
However, in recent months, Xi appears to have switched to a more supportive position of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
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In June the Chinese leader declared Beijing’s backing for Moscow’s “sovereignty and security” but did not refer to Ukraine specifically.
He was quoted by state broadcaster CCTV as saying: “China is willing to push for the steady and long-term development of bilateral pragmatic cooperation.
“China is willing to mutually support Russia on core interests and matters of paramount concern, such as sovereignty and security, as well as [achieve] closer strategic cooperation.”
Dr Callahan warned that Xi has been closely following events in Ukraine, and would have attacked Taiwan if Putin’s own war had been a success.
He said: “If Kyiv had fallen in three days, and Ukraine had folded, I think that we already would have seen the attack on Taiwan.
“And this is probably good for the world – it is all good for the world. Russia’s defeat is good for the world.
“But China taking a step back and being more measured, is probably a good thing.
“Sudden shocks lead to turning of keys and nuclear responses because people get desperate.
“But yes, I think that Chinese aggression on the South China Sea is definitely at a height.”