A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a possible military conflict with China over Taiwan as early as 2025, urging his commanders to push their units to reach maximum readiness for military operations this year.
In a memo first released to the media on Friday and later confirmed by the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Mike Minihan said, “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025.”
The primary goal should be to deter and, if necessary, to defeat China, Minihan added.
The signed memo is addressed to all air wing commanders in Air Mobility Command and other Air Force operational commanders, directing all personnel to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head.”
A Pentagon spokesperson verified the memo's authenticity, but a defense department official said, “These comments are not representative of the department’s view on China.”
Senior US officials have claimed in recent months that they have evidence China is rapidly accelerating its timeline for taking control of Taiwan.
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the ‘One China’ policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, meaning that they would not establish diplomatic contact with the island's secessionist government.
The United States, too, claims commitment to that principle, but in violation of its own stated policy and in an attempt to antagonize Beijing, Washington has courted the secessionist government in Taipei, supporting its anti-China stance, and supplying it with a large cache of weaponry.
Tensions over the self-ruled island intensified following a provocative visit there in August by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives. It prompted large-scale Chinese military drills around the island territory as well as a declaration by US President Joe Biden to defend Taiwan.
Beijing says the issue of Chinese Taipei is a red line that must not be crossed.
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