WW3 looming as ‘no good options’ remain in ‘dangerous’ China-US conflict over Taiwan | World | News

US lawmakers have followed in the steps of Nancy Pelosi this week to visit Taiwan as China continues to threaten the island. Ms Pelsoi’s visit earlier this month angered Beijing, who then launches military drills near Taiwan in response. Senator Marsha Blackburn said she will not let China prevent her from visiting Taiwan. She said: “Taiwan is our strongest partner in the Indo-Pacific Region. Regular high-level visits to Taipei are long-standing U.S. policy,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I will not be bullied by Communist China into turning my back on the island.”

Taiwan has not declared independence, and China considers the island a province of the country.

But the US has stood up for Taiwan’s right to self-governance, even vowing to defend the country should it come under attack.

Kristen Gunness, an expert on the Chinese military from the Rand Corporation think-tank, told the Financial Times that hostility between Washington and Beijing is leading to a “dangerous situation.”

She said: “Their [China’s] presence in the waters and airspace around Taiwan demonstrates that they can control it if they wish to.

“It is a dangerous time in terms of potential for escalation when you have a normalised PLA (Chinese military) presence that could potentially restrict freedom of operations and freedom of movement, which is a key US objective.

“It was a large demonstration, and there hasn’t been the kind of diplomatic and economic follow-up that you might have expected. I think that is because we don’t want to escalate it into a larger conflict.”

Ashley Townshend, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank, warns that the US and Taiwan are now at a disadvantage.

This is because China is more willing to escalate while the US wants to keep the situation calm, she argued.

Mr Townshend said: “The status quo has been reset in ways less favourable to the US and Taiwan, and there are no good options for the US to respond to this.

“Like all status quo players, if you play responsibly and your adversary is willing to escalate, you lose the round.”

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He wrote: “Policymakers and the US public can no longer ignore the fact that a new nuclear age has dawned.

“Vladimir Putin’s sabre-rattling in the early days of the Ukraine war revealed that nuclear-armed authoritarian aggressors may not be restrained.

“As Beijing considers Taiwan its sovereign territory, there can be no assurance that a conflict would remain conventional.

“Make no mistake about it, this would be no small clash. Control over Taiwan has been the primary foreign policy and strategic concern of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) since Mao Zedong took power in 1949.”

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