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Odds ‘very high’ of U.S. military conflict with China, top Republican says

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – A senior Republican in the U.S. Congress said Sunday the chance of a conflict with China over Taiwan is “very high” after a U.S. general sparked consternation in a memo warning the United States would go to war with China in the next two years.

In a memo dated Feb. 1 but released on Friday, General Mike Minihan, who heads Air Mobility Command, wrote to a leadership of some 110,000 people, “My intuition tells me we will be fighting in 2025.”

“I hope he’s wrong… Although I think he’s right,” Mike McCall, the new chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News Sunday.

The general’s views do not represent the Pentagon, but express concern at the highest levels of the US military about a possible Chinese attempt to gain control over Taiwan, which China claims as territory.

Both the US and Taiwan will hold presidential elections in 2024, potentially creating an opportunity for China to take military action, Minihan writes.

McCall said that if China fails to take control of Taiwan bloodlessly, “in my opinion, they will consider a military invasion. We must be ready for this.”

He accused the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden of showing weakness after the failed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which could make war with China more likely.

“The chance that we may see conflict with China, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific is very high,” McCall said.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he seriously doubted that increased Chinese military activity near the Taiwan Strait was a sign of Beijing’s imminent invasion of the island.

On Saturday, a Pentagon spokesman said the general’s comments “do not reflect the department’s view of China.”

Reporting Ross Colvin Editing Nick Zeminsky

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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