(Reuters) – A leading Republican in the U.S. Congress said on Sunday that the chances of a conflict with China over Taiwan “are very high” after a U.S. general caused consternation with a memo warning that the U.S. would fight China within two years.
In a memo dated February 1 but released on Friday, General Mike Minihan, who heads Air Mobility Command, wrote to the leadership of his roughly 110,000-strong staff, “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.”
“I hope he’s wrong … but I think he’s right,” Mike McCaul, the new chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.
The general’s views do not represent the Pentagon, but show concern in the highest echelons of the U.S. military about a possible attempt by China to exert control over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as a rebel province.
Both the United States and Taiwan will hold presidential elections in 2024, potentially creating an opportunity for China to take military action, Minihan wrote.
McCaul said that if China fails to take control of Taiwan without blood, then “they will consider a military invasion in my opinion. We have to be prepared for that.”
He accused the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden of projecting weakness after the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan, which could make war with China more likely.
“The chances are very high that we could see a conflict with China, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific,” McCaul said.
The White House declined to comment on McCaul’s statements.
A Pentagon official said Saturday that the general’s comments “do not represent the department’s view on China.”
When asked about Minihan’s assessment, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Monday that China is “willing, with the utmost sincerity and greatest effort, to seek peaceful reunification (with Taiwan), but we do not promise to abandon the use of force. (We) need to reserve the option to take all necessary measures.”
*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team***