(MENAFN- Asia Times) A restoration of high-level official meetings between US and People's Republic of China (PRC) leaders following the spy balloon crisis of February 2023 has fueled cautious optimism that US-China relations are improving.
The most important event in this purported“thaw” was the meeting between Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in California on November 15.
Xi appeared to offer the Americans assurances that China was not preparing to wage war against Taiwan.
But while the Xi-Biden summit was modestly successful, the chance of a conflict is scarcely if at all reduced because Taiwan, the most likely trigger for war, remains as much a flashpoint as ever.
The most encouraging item from the summit on the Taiwan issue is that Xi
Biden that China had no plans to take military action against Taiwan.
This, however, is only superficially encouraging.
First, it tells us nothing new. War would be a terrible option for Beijing. Either a blockade or invasion could fail, and any“victory” would be Pyrrhic for the Chinese, with huge losses of lives and treasure, serious and perhaps regime-threatening economic disruption, and decades of difficulty trying to govern a hostile Taiwan population.
Therefore we can assume Xi would opt for war only as a last resort, prompted by a trigger that has not yet occurred, such as Taiwan's formal declaration of de jure independence.
Xi seemed to be refuting speculation that Beijing has already decided to attack Taiwan, perhaps as early as
And we already knew that a major PLA combat operation against Taiwan would require many months of
unusual and visible
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