Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2023
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China ready to blockade Taiwan as first part of ‘takeover’ plan | World | News

America and its allies will soon be tested by a crisis in the South China Seas, claims former US National Security Advisor John Bolton. He believes China is considering setting up a ‘blockade’ around Taiwan before attempting to ‘take over’ the democratically-run island in the next five years.

Heated rhetoric on both sides recently has sparked fears of conflict, however analysts such as former UN Ambassador Bolton believe China will take a different approach as it would want to keep the island’s infrastructure intact, reports The Daily Express US. The comments follow Chinese war games appeared to simulate a blockade as well as practice strikes on ‘foreign military targets’, which could be a reference to US warships that routinely cruise the area.

The region is seen by many as a powderkeg following high-level diplomatic meetings between US and Taiwanese officials including an April visit to Washington by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Bolton believes a prolonged ‘air and naval blockade’ could be initially be employed by China to gauge the response of America and its allies.

He said: “Beijing doesn’t want a grinding World War One kind of conflict. They want to take over Taiwan with its production facilities, and its infrastructure intact. They want that added to Chinese capabilities. So I think at this point, the more likely scenario, not less dangerous just a different scenario than an outright invasion is they create the pretext for some kind of crisis over Taiwan.”

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Bolton continued: “They throw a naval and air blockade around it. They wait to see if the United States, Japan and others come to Taiwan’s side. That’s why this question of being able to supply a military effort across the Pacific is so important.”

He warned that the US is “not ready for it at the moment” and that Taiwan’s own defenses needed to be improved to allow America and allied forces the time to mobilise if China acted.

He said: “A lot of people are thinking about how to make Taiwan a harder target to get to, harder to invade, for sure, but also more resilient to have a longer staying capability because if the blockade is thrown around it, you need resources, both civilian resources and military resources to be able to hold out until the blockade can be breached.

“I think there are a number of things we should think of like home porting some American naval vessels there to say to the Chinese right from the outset: ‘These are not just Taiwanese that you’re blockading, you’re blockading Americans too’.”

Moves have been made by Washington to increase Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities and last month it was announced Taipei had purchased 400 land-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles. However, Bolton warned against the West becoming “complacent” and that the US and its allies should not “underestimate the danger of the situation”.

Bolton, who also served as Assistant Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, said: “I think we’ve got to do everything we can in a relatively short period of time to create structures of deterrence, that back the Chinese away. I don’t want to have a fight over a naval blockade.

“I want to deter the Chinese from throwing the blockade up in the first place. Because I do think Xi Jinping is susceptible to deterrence. I think he understands that if he makes a play for Taiwan and fails, that may be regime-threatening for him. And the more uncertainty we can generate, in his mind, the lower the potential for him to do something reckless over Taiwan. But I don’t want to underestimate the danger of the situation we’re in. I don’t think this is a time for complacency at all.”

Although the world is waking up to the threat posed by China and Russia, Bolton insisted the US and Europe are not.

“In the US and Europe, we really need a lot more consideration of the threat. China and the China-Russia axis now pose in places like Taiwan,” he said.

Bolton, who most recently served under Donald Trump as National Security Advisor, added that US allies such as South Korea and Japan as well as NATO allies in eastern Europe are “increasingly” aware of the threats posed by Russia and China but that the rest of the West needs to be more vigilant.

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