'Nuclear exchange': Grim prediction if war breaks out between US and China

·3-min read

A former US Army lieutenant colonel has warned of a possible “nuclear exchange” if the US breaks out into war with China.

Tensions continue to simmer between the US and China over its military activity in the Taiwan Strait.

About 100 Chinese military aircraft – including bombers – entered Taiwan's air space, in a steady escalation of military intimidation last week. It was a move the US said it is “very concerned” about.

The US has been a long-term supporter of Taiwan’s push for independence.

State-run Chinese newspaper The Global Times reported on Monday the Chinese government said pressures from the United States, Japan and Taiwan's DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) have created a "sense of urgency that the war may be triggered at any time".

Soldiers of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in a joint multinational UN peacekeeping military exercise with troops from Pakistan, Mongolia and Thailand, on the outskirts of Zhumadian, Henan province, China.
Chinese soliders take part in a joint multinational UN peacekeeping military exercise with troops from Pakistan, Mongolia and Thailand, on the outskirts of Zhumadian, China last month. Source: AAP

US should avoid a 'no-win war' with China, retired Colonel says

Daniel Davis, a former lieutenant colonel with the US Army, wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian he believes the US should not engage in a “no-win” war with China, with “no rational scenario” in which it ends up “in a better, more secure place”.

“The most likely outcome would be a conventional defeat of our forces in which China ultimately succeeds, despite our intervention – at the cost of large numbers of our jets being shot down, ships being sunk, and thousands of our service personnel killed. But the worst case is a conventional war spirals out of control and escalates into a nuclear exchange,” he wrote.

“That leaves as the best option something most Americans find unsatisfying: refuse to engage in direct combat against China on behalf of Taiwan. Doing so will allow the United States to emerge on the other side of a China/Taiwan war with our global military and economic power intact.”

He clarified he does not believe the US should stand aside and let China take Taiwan but that its actions should be strongly condemned by Washington instead leading to global sanctions.

Mr Davis also believes Beijing would lose out in combat too, regardless of if China achieves its goal and it could take decades to recover.

US NATO soldiers patrol near the border between Kosovo and Serbia in Jarinje as Serbs remove trucks and cars that used to block the border with Kosovo.
US NATO soldiers patrol near the border between Kosovo and Serbia in Jarinje. Source: Getty Images

Former PM Tony Abbott in Taiwan

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott will on Friday address the Yushan Forum organised by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation think tank.

Cabinet minister Paul Fletcher said Mr Abbott, who is making the trip in a private capacity, had a deep understanding of national security issues from his time as prime minister.

"I certainly consider that if somebody of Tony Abbott's stature is in Taiwan and engaging with the government of Taiwan, I certainly don't see any issue with that," Mr Fletcher told the National Press Club.

"On the contrary, I see that as a constructive contribution that he is making."

A US-made CH-47 helicopter flies an 18-meter by 12-meter national flag at a military base in Taoyuan.
A US-made CH-47 helicopter flies the Taiwanese national flag at a military base in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Source: Getty Images

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said there was a bipartisan commitment to the One China policy, which means Australia does not officially recognise Taiwan as a country but maintains economic ties.

"Australia should continue to urge for peaceful actions in our region," he told reporters.

Earlier in the week, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said relations with Australia were strong.

"We would like to engage in security or intelligence exchanges with other like-minded partners, Australia included, so Taiwan is better prepared to deal with the war situation," he told the ABC.

Mr Abbott is due to meet with Mr Wu and other government figures during the visit.

with AAP

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