China is unlikely to invade Taiwan because the economic fallout would bring down the ruling Communist party, a leading expert claimed on Saturday.
The bold claim is made just days after the UK and US strengthened their defence alliance in the face of “new challenges to international stability from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People’s Republic”.
The Atlantic Declaration, signed by Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden in Washington, does not specifically mention Taiwan.
However, a deepening of the Anglo-American military alliance will ensure both nations are better placed to contribute to support a “free and open region including through AUKUS and expanded joint exercises and planning”.
AUKUS is a trilateral security pact which also includes Australia.
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Tensions have been mounting over the fate of Taiwan, with an increasingly belligerent Xi Jinping repeatedly pledging to “take all necessary means” to unify the island with China.
The leader has announced his intention to “build the People’s Liberation Army into a great wall of steel” before 2027 when it is assumed he will either mount a full blockade of the island or launch a full-scale invasion.
But on Saturday, China specialist Charles Parton said Xi would not act in the next 15 years because of the consequences on the country’s fragile economy.
“Maintaining power is the be all and end all for the Communist party,” said Mr Parton, of the Council on Geostrategy think tank.
“If you fall out of power in the UK, you go on the lecture circuit and make lots of money. If Xi fails he could end up dead and it would mark the end of the system. He won’t do anything to risk this.”
Taiwan exported $185billion worth of critical components to Beijing last year. Mr Parton said: “If China blockades Taiwan it would, in effect, be blockading itself.”
An invasion by sea would be much more difficult to pull off than Russia’s land attack on Ukraine, he added. But even a successful invasion would not spell success for Beijing.
US military sources say Washington will ensure the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which produces 90 percent of the world’s most sophisticated chips, is destroyed rather than fall into Chinese hands.
Even without destruction, it relies on a myriad of foreign components and these would be cut off. With the cost of shipping prohibitive due to insurance hikes – a third of all global trade passes through the South China Sea – the economic ripples would be seismic for Beijing.
Mr Parton said: “You’d see mass unemployment and there is no social security. That’s a lot of very angry, hungry people. Xi knows this would present an existential threat to the CCP and his own position. I don’t believe he would take the risk.”
But the chances of conflict breaking out accidentally are rising, he said, as China acts increasingly provocatively to Western presence in the South China Sea
Last week footage emerged of a near collision between a Chinese naval vessel and a US destroyer. Mr Parton said: “It is likely China would move to de-escalate in the event of a collision, but it isn’t certain.”
Kaynak : https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1779379/china-taiwan-invasion-aukus