Chinese military official warns that war with US under Trump is becoming a 'practical reality'

Chinese PLA soldiers pose in Beijing. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)

A Chinese military official has warned that war between the US and China is becoming “a practical reality” following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

On January 20, an official from the People’s Liberation Army wrote on its official website that the US’s “rebalance” in Asia, its deployments to the region, and its push to arm South Korea with the THAAD missile defence system are provocative “hot spots getting closer to ignition,” The South China Morning Post reported Friday.

Before his inauguration, Trump sparked controversy in China when he took a phone call from the President of Taiwan, going against the US’s decades-old protocol to respect a “One China” policy. At the time, Chinese officials lodged a complaint with the White House but referred to the call as a “shenanigan by the Taiwan side.”

But that hasn’t put to rest all of China’s concerns. “The Taiwan question” is a core interest to the country, which, two PLA authors wrote in December, could push a more aggressive response as the US supports independence for Taiwan and more exports of weaponry.

“We hope that the US will rein in at the brink of the precipice and avoid going farther and farther down the wrong path,” the authors wrote, on the Chinese military’s official website.

For now, China seems to be trying to get a read on what a Trump administration might do, especially in the contested South China Sea. But it is continuing to build up military preparedness and reform its ranks, according to SCMP.

“As it’s highly unlikely that China will compromise its sovereignty claims in the face of US pressure, we can be sure that the dispute will increasingly become a risky point of contention between Beijing and Washington,” Ian Storey, a senior fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, told the paper.

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