CHINA is reportedly set to deploy its two new aircraft carriers off the coast of Taiwan as it warns the US of a “new cold war”.
The huge carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, are currently engaged in combat readiness training in the tightly controlled Bohai Bay, in the Yellow Sea before sailing to join an invasion war game near Pratas island.
This will be the first time China’s new aircraft carriers deploy together for the first time and the move has sparked fears in Taiwan of a possible invasion of its Pratas islands – which could then be used as a staging point for an attack on the mainland.
It comes after Beijing threatened to “reunify” Taiwan in response to Donald Trump saying he could “cut off the whole relationship” with China.
Tensions have been growing between the US and China over the origins of Covid-19.
The US said on Friday it is set to ban trade with 33 Chinese companies.
But China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said yesterday this would risk “a new Cold War” as he rejected Washington’s “lies” over its handling of coronavirus while saying Beijing was open to an international effort to find its source.
Wang said the United States had been infected by a “political virus” compelling figures there to continually attack China.
He said: “It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War.”
Meanwhile Chinese state media has threatened Australia with economic devastation if it supports the United States, warning it “may feel more pain than the US”.
Some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War. – China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi
A new report from the US think tank Council on Foreign Relations said the war games could “risk a military confrontation in the South China Sea involving the United States and China that could rise significantly in the next eighteen months.”
Seizing the outlying islands would represent a serious escalation of hostilities and could drag in the US through its pact to defend Taiwan.
Taiwan — broke away from China in 1949 — but the Chinese ruling party regards the island as a “renegade state” and has vowed to take it back by force if necessary by 2050.
But as China struggles with Covid-19 and is accused of covering up the initial outbreak, some are speculating that whipping up nationalism has been a way to deflect dissent away from the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Across the state controlled media, there are reports of a “groundswell” of public support erupting in support of a military invasion of Taiwan.
One example is a set of evocative combat images released by the Communist-controlled Sichuan Fine Arts Institute on social media which depicts fighting outside Taiwan’s Presidential Palace.
On the ground lay dead US Marines.
Another example was in the state-controlled Naval and Merchant Ships Magazine which in fine detail what an attack on Taiwan would shape up.
It released the same day Taiwan’s recently elected President Tsai Ing-wen officially took up office.
The article boasts: “In around four minutes, Taiwan’s air power is badly damaged and those Taiwanese aircraft that have already taken off, will be shot down with S400 missiles.
“After nearly two hours … all anti-air defence bases are destroyed, and most of Taiwan’s warplanes are damaged. What’s awaiting them is the second round of attacks after dawn.”