Top US general issues grave warning of impending war with China within two years and sparks backlash from Chinese Communist Party
A four-star US Air Force general has warned the country could be at war with China within two years over an illegal invasion of Taiwan.
General Mike Minihan – who oversees the US Air Force’s fleet of transport and refueling aircraft – sent a memo to operational commanders telling them to start preparing for war.
The memo was obtained by US media outlet NBC News and published on Saturday after it was sent to officials on Friday.
“My gut tells me we will be fighting in 2025,” General Minihan said in the memo.
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He then goes on to explain that the US and Taiwanese presidential elections in 2024 will act as a distraction for both countries, giving China a chance to launch an invasion of Taiwan.
“Xi secured his third term and appointed his military council in October 2022,” he said.
“Taiwan’s presidential election is in 2024 and will give Xi a reason. US presidential elections are in 2024 and will present Xi with a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason and opportunity are all aligned with 2025.”
The memo was verified by an Air Force spokesman, who said it “builds on last year’s foundational efforts by Air Mobility Command to prepare forces for future conflict should deterrence fail”.
General Minihan’s comments were a rare public example of a senior US military official indicating that the country would respond with force if China invaded the neighboring island.
However, the Department of Defense distanced itself from his comments, saying they were “not representative of the department’s views on China”.
General Minihan served in a variety of influential roles in the Pacific before assuming the Air Mobility Command post, including a stint as the Deputy Commander of the Indo-Pacific Command.
He was in the post for two years, overseeing US military operations in China and Taiwan.
China hit back at General Minihan’s comments in response, issuing a scathing editorial in the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the Global Times.
The editorial accused the US of “constantly manufacturing threats or intimidating other countries to create momentum for itself”.
It further claimed that Beijing would flex its muscles in response to Washington’s threats.
“The more Washington calls for war against China, the more it will inspire China’s determination to defend its homeland and strengthen its national defense,” the editorial said.
“The more Washington wants to besiege China in the high-tech sector, the more it will drive China’s independent innovation.
“Whether it is at the military level or at the technological level, the benefits Washington gets from suppressing China will be far less than the price it has to pay.”