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Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Angélica Rivera de Peña

China Continues Its Campaign of Aggression

During a tour of a military base in Guandong, China, Chinese President Xi Jinping told members of the People’s Liberation Army Navy-Marine Corps, “[You should] focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war, and stay highly vigilant,” according to reporting from the South China Morning Post.

Jinping’s words come as China is involved in border skirmishes with India, with reported casualties on both sides of the conflict. The area in dispute, Ladakh, is a nearly year-old union territory of India, established on October 31, 2019. However, China does not recognize India’s claims to Ladakh, and the two countries physically clashed over the area on several occasions starting in 1962, then again in 1967, 1987, 2013, and now 2020.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said that India “illegally” occupies Ladakh, only escalating tensions between the world’s two most populous nations. In response, China has amassed 60,000 troops on India’s Northern border, according to comments from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. China’s behavior is similar to the Russian Federation, which has deployed thousands of troops to its border with Ukraine since 2014.

To date, China and India have held seven talks to de-escalate the situation over Ladakh, with neither party agreeing to a solution.

Jinping’s message to Chinese forces comes as China applies heavy pressure on Taiwan. On October 12, China claimed to have solved hundreds of spy cases against Taiwanese Intelligence as part of Operation Thunder, Chinese Central Television reported. In response, Taiwan denied allegations from Mainland China.

Also, on October 12, Chinese Central Television played a propaganda video of China invading Taiwan.

On October 13, upset by U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, China threatened the United States, indicating that it would make a “legitimate and necessary” retaliation because of it, even though the U.S. has sold arms to Taiwan for years.

The Takeaway

Jinping’s statement about “preparing for war” could signal further confrontation with India, where China has established a military presence on India’s northern border. With Chinese forces clashing with Indian forces, China’s troops gain combat experience, which they severely lack as a result of not fighting in the War on Terror or any other major recent conflicts. China’s firm stance not to recognize Ladakh as India’s territory and its failure to agree to a deal with India, indicates that it is unwilling to negotiate, likely leading to more tensions and bloodshed in the region.

China will continue to push back against Taiwan. However, with the U.S. backing the Taiwanese, there is a low likelihood of an invasion. China is apt to continue to use its massive intelligence resources to undermine, intimidate, and put pressure on Taiwan, through means of false accusations, disinformation operations, and cyber attacks.