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Top US air force general predicts China conflict in 2025

A senior US Air Force general predicted that the US and China would likely go to war in 2025, the most dramatic warning from a senior military officer about the possibility of conflict over Taiwan.

Gen. Mike Minihan, head of the US Air Mobility Command, said the two military powers would likely end up going to war because of a series of circumstances that would cheer up Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I hope I’m wrong. My intuition tells me we will be fighting in 2025,” Minihan wrote in a personal memo to his top commanders, obtained by NBC News and seen by the Financial Times.

Xi wins his third term [as Communist party general secretary] and install [sic] his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential election will be held in 2024, and Xi will get a reason,” Minihan tweeted. Minihan added that the 2024 US presidential election would create a “distracted America” ​​that would benefit the Chinese president.

“Xi Jinping’s team, cause and opportunity are aligned for 2025,” he concluded.

The memorandum comes as tensions remain high over Taiwan, a democratically ruled country over which China has long claimed sovereignty. Minihan’s comments are the sharpest prediction by a senior military leader and a rare example of a senior officer so clearly suggesting that the US will respond to a Chinese attack on Taiwan.

The comments come a week before Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is due to become the first cabinet secretary from President Joe Biden’s administration to visit China.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense said Minihan’s words “do not reflect the Department’s view of China.”

Over the past two years, China has flown larger sorties near Taiwan. Last August, the Chinese military conducted large-scale exercises, including firing rockets over Taiwan in response to then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

Highlighting the tension, Biden said four times that he would order the US military to intervene if China attacked Taiwan. His warnings appear to have changed a longstanding policy known as “strategic ambiguity” in which Washington does not say whether the US military will intervene in the conflict over Taiwan.

Over the past two years, several US military leaders have given a rough timeline for possible Chinese military action against Taiwan. In March 2021, Admiral Philip Davidson, then head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said that China could attack Taiwan by 2027, in comments that heightened US and entire Indo-Pacific concerns about the threat to Taiwan.

Last October, Admiral Michael Gilday, commander of the US Navy, said the Pentagon must be ready for military action at any time.

“When we talk about the 2027 window, I think it should be the 2022 window or potentially the 2023 window,” Gilday told the Atlantic Council in comments that some dismissed as a clumsy attempt to remind the military that they always had to be ready. to fight at any moment.

As head of the Air Mobility Command, Minihan oversees air logistics for the US military. The four-star general previously served as deputy head of the Indo-Pacific Command, which will be directly responsible for commanding US forces in any conflict with China.

Eric Sayers, a former adviser to the Indo-Pacific Command, said Minihan had been on the “tip of the spear” in the Pacific for more than a decade and understood the Chinese threat “better than anyone in uniform.”

“The language of the memo is harsh and can be uncomfortable, but memos of this nature are not meant to be made public or as sophisticated intelligence assessments of conflict potential,” Sayers said.

He said that people should interpret the document as “a controlled correspondence with Minikhan’s subordinates, that he expects them to act urgently to increase the readiness of the command.”

The Pentagon and the White House did not comment.

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