China has long said it will use force against Taiwan if necessary, and his remarks have raised many ambiguities about what Xi Jinping and other leaders in Beijing see as a threshold event that justifies doing so. But remarks by General Wei, Mr. Austin and others at the Singapore summit show that Taiwan remains the most volatile point of contention between China and the United States and its allies.
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Officials and experts disagree on the possibility of an imminent military conflict over Taiwan. But most believe the danger is mounting as the People’s Liberation Army moves closer to gathering the equipment and skills needed to turn an offensive into a potentially daunting and costly option.
“The more you hear about Taiwan, the more people say that the conflict is not about if, but about time.” Natasha KesamA former Australian diplomat who is now a researcher at the Lowy Institute in Sydney said in an interview in Singapore. We are entering more dangerous waters. But for China, the ability to launch a full-scale offensive will be only part of the equation. How do you occupy an island of 24 million people?
General Wei and Mr. Austin held talks Friday that covered regional issues and the war in Ukraine, as well as efforts to strengthen ties between the US and Chinese military and prevent dangerous military misconduct.