'Potentially catastrophic' China sparks Taiwan panic over fears Xi will 'use nuclear card'

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Beijing has put the world on red alert after conducting a series of military drills surrounding the east Asian island it claims sovereignty over. While it now claims it has completed the drills, in which it “effectively tested the integrated joint combat capabilities of the troops”, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit sparked fears that this was China’s preparation for an invasion.

As US-China relations sour, Ms Pelosi insists that her trip to the independent nation was crucial, warning that “we cannot allow the Chinese government to isolate Taiwan”.

Ms Pelosi also stopped off in Japan on her east Asian round trip, a move which China has condemned.

China also responded to the House Speaker’s visit by firing a number of missiles, five of which landed right in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

As tensions continue to fly high in the region, there are fears Beijing’s battle for control of the South China Sea could result in a nuclear attack.

In an interview with Jacobin magazine, Lyle J. Goldstein, an associate professor at the Strategic Research Department at the US Naval War College (NWC), said: ”If I were to blame Pelosi for anything, it’s that, in the nuclear age, this kind of posturing is ridiculous and should be condemned widely.”

He added that “in the field of US-China military studies, we don’t talk a lot about tactical nuclear weapons, but Chinese strategists talk about this a lot these days, especially because they were a feature of the US-Soviet rivalry”.

And he warned that Japan could be a potential target.

Prof Goldstein said: “We have to wonder, in the nuclear era, at that point would China resort to some kind of nuclear use to warn the others away.

“I do fear China could use the nuclear card against Japan.”

He claims that China has a “particular animus toward Japan” as it conquered much of China several decades ago, adding that “China remembers that dearly”.

READ MORE: Nuclear horror: Timeline set for Russia to ‘launch strike’

This is the trilateral security pact between the UK, the US and Australia, in which the latter will be armed with nuclear-powered submarines to enhance security in the Indo-Pacific and cope with the China threat.

But for several months, Japanese lawmakers have been locked in a debate as calls grow for the ruling party to explore a nuclear-sharing arrangement with the US.

As China’s threats to Taiwan grow, Japan may be all the more tempted to strike an agreement with the military superior US.

This is despite the country having “three non-nuclear principles”, including not possessing, not producing and not allowing the introduction of nuclear weapons. While China has warned against this, Prof Goldstein urged world leaders not to ignore Beijing’s threat to reunify the island of Taiwan.

He said: “In a nuclear-armed world, to just outright ignore the warnings of the other side is reckless beyond belief, and potentially catastrophic.”



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