Senior US general warns of possible looming war with China as early as 2025

The US has been holding military drills with Taiwanese troops to deter Chinese aggression along the Taiwan Strait. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON – A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 – most likely over Taiwan – and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness in 2023.

In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, the head of the Air Mobility Command, General Mike Minihan, said the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China.

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Gen Minihan said.

Laying out his reasoning, Gen Minihan said Taiwan’s presidential elections in 2024 would offer Chinese President Xi Jinping an excuse for military aggression, while the United States would be distracted by its own contest for the White House.

“Xi’s team, reason and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,” he added.

The memorandum also calls on all Mobile Command personnel to go to the firing range, “fire a clip” into a target and “aim for the head”.

A Pentagon spokesman responded to an e-mail query from Agence France-Presse about the memo, saying, “Yes, it’s factual that he sent that out.”

Senior US officials have said in recent months that China appears to be speeding up its timeframe to seize control of Taiwan, a self-governing island claimed by Beijing.

China staged major military exercises in August 2022, seen as a trial run for an invasion after a defiant visit of solidarity to Taipei by then House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The US switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but sells weapons to Taiwan for its self-defence.

A growing number of US lawmakers have called for ramping up assistance, including sending direct military aid, to Taiwan, saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for early preparation. AFP

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