A top House Republican is warning the risk of conflict with China is “very high,” blaming in part a President Biden-led withdrawal from Afghanistan that projected weakness and fearing the U.S. would run out of advanced weaponry in a war with the Asian superpower.
Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, aired his concerns days after an Air Force general raised eyebrows with a memo saying the U.S. could be at war with China by 2025 because of tensions over Taiwan.
The memo said the 2024 elections in Taiwan and the U.S. could give Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently secured a historic third term, an opportunity to invade.
“I hope he’s wrong as well,” Mr. McCaul told “Fox News Sunday.” “I think he’s right, though, unfortunately.”
Murmurs about a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province, have simmered for years and only grown louder. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last year in a show of support, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy might visit this spring, which would frustrate Beijing.
The Biden administration says its support for Ukraine, which is resisting Russian invaders, should make China think twice about an invasion.
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Mr. Biden has said the U.S. would help Taiwan defend itself but the U.S. is not making any change to its diplomatic “one China” policy.
Yet Mr. McCaul and other critics say the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan paved the way for the Ukraine conflict and raised the chances of a Taiwan problem.
“We have to be prepared for this — and it could happen I think as long as Biden is in office projecting weakness as he did with Afghanistan that led to Putin invading Ukraine — that the odds are very high we could see a conflict with China and Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. McCaul said.
Mr. McCaul said he is worried the U.S. will run out of precision missiles and other weaponry in a war with China.
“Our industrial defense base is broken,” Mr. McCaul said. “I signed off on all foreign military weapon sales three years ago. They have yet to go into Taiwan. So we need that deterrence. But if we don’t have the weapons, that’s as critical for deterrence.”
Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, told “Fox News Sunday” he is also worried about the military-industrial base. Still, he says he doesn’t think people should characterize war with China as inevitable, dubbing it “highly unlikely.”
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