Xi Jinping Says China Has To Prepare For War

China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to pay a special attention to the current situation in the region and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said during an inspection tour made on October 25 as part of his visit to Guangdong province, according to state broadcaster CCTV. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.”

Xi emphasized that the Southern Theater Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years. He stated that the Chinese military has “to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen capabilities and preparation for war”.

One of the key missions of the Southern Theater Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily.

Over the past year, the Chinese Navy and Air Force have been involved in multiple encounters with the US military in the region. While China claims a major part of the South China Sea as its territorial waters. The US administration challenges these claims sending multiple naval and air patrols in the area. Washington is also boosting its military presence in the region in order to deter the Chinese diplomatic and military expansion.

Battle for Idlib, Armageddon coming

By Christopher R Rice

“I think it’s a very sad situation in Idlib, the province, what’s going on there,” Trump told reporters in the Oval office on Wednesday as he met the emir of Kuwait. “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed airstrikes against insurgents in the densely populated enclave.

The bombardment began just hours after Trump warned on Twitter that Assad “must not recklessly attack Idlib Province”.

“Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

Trump on Wednesday also denied that he wanted to assassinate Assad – one of the many shocking claims made in a new book by the acclaimed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

“That was never even contemplated,” Trump said.

Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War: At the start of the Trump presidency, it looked like the U.S. covert “regime change” war in Syria might be ending, but it has returned, zombie-like, in a slightly different form.

The parallel measures by the U.S. and Russia signify a race between the two major powers to capture as much territory as possible from the Islamic State before the other side is able to do so.

Under the guise of “defeating ISIS,” both powers are essentially carving out their own spheres of influence throughout the country, dividing it between U.S.- and Russian-backed regions, leading to an inevitable showdown between the two sides over the fate of the country and its territorial integrity.

Today in Idlib, where the FSA is being supported by the CIA, al-Qaeda and its coalition completely dominate the rebel forces. Rebels routinely pass at least half of their U.S.-supplied weapons to Nusra while the U.S.-approved “moderates” only operate under license from al-Qaeda.

It is important to realize the true history of this failed CIA program and the terrorism it has wrought on Syria. It’s also important to understand how the fight against ISIS is currently being utilized to potentially fracture and partition Syria under the guise of eliminating the threat of terrorism.

Syria says it’s been warned that Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists brought in chlorine containers to a local village, where they aimed to work with the White Helmets to stage “a provocation.”

A chemical weapons provocation, currently being prepared by terrorists in Syria, is aimed at allowing France, the United Kingdom and the United States to carry out a full scale invasion on Syria before the November elections, in the US.

For this purpose, USS The Sullivans destroyer with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago, while a US В-1В bomber carrying 24 air-to-surface AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles was deployed at Al Udeid air base in Qatar.

Who’s who: Sunni Islamic fascist militias control Idlib. Sunnis make up 90% of all Muslims in the world. 95% of all terrorist organizations are Sunni. The Sunni under Saddam ruled Iraq and killed millions of Shia, Kurds and Christians. It is the Sunni Saudis that are killing Shia in Yemen. It is Sunni ISIS and al Qaida that have committed genocide against Shia, Kurds, Druz and Christians in Syria.

Salafists are radical Sunnis and an offshoot of the Saudi’s Wahhabi sect.

The rebels (ISIS, Al Qaeda, Alawiyat al-Qasioun, White helmets, Grey wolves, Muslim Brotherhood, and all the rest) are not the good guys.

At least Russia has provided a humanitarian corridor before bombings begin. The US never did this in Mosul with an over two million civilian population and then the US cut off their water supply, cell phones and utilities! The US has no morals to be telling Russia how to fight their moderate rebels!

No mention of the thousands of civilians killed in Raqqua by US bombing, as the world inches closer to World War III.

TheAmericanConservative: On August 9, a Saudi airstrike hit a school bus and killed dozens, including many children. The Saudis have also bombed Yemeni schoolsweddings, and hospitals.

It’s a human rights catastrophe that—despite the fact that America has no quarrel with Yemen or the Yemeni people—President Trump is subsidizing. With its most recent deal to arm the Saudis costing the U.S. over a billion dollars, small government conservatives should be much more concerned about the price tag of this bloody foreign intervention.

Recent events in Syria indicate that “the United States [is] seemingly looking to cement a north-south ‘Sunni axis’ from the Gulf states and Jordan to Turkey,” Fabrice Balanche, a French expert on Syria and a visiting fellow at The Washington institute for Near East Policy, wrote recently.

Iran defeats ISIS: Without the work and help of Iran, ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorists would take over many countries. The root of all Arab terror groups is in Saudi Arabia teaching of Wahhabi savages. Just like in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the Arab world.

I want to thank Iran for being the first and only country fighting ISIS in Iraq when Obama denied its existence. I want to thank Iran and Russia for defending a non religious government in Syria from the jihadists fanatics backed by America, Israel, Saudi Arabia that want to impose a Sharia regime.

US interference: Idlib is the last strong hold of Western/Saudi backed Sunni Islamic-Fascist thug militias. Once they have been destroyed peace can return to Syria. The Syrian government has offered to evacuate any civilians that wish to do so.

Hillary In Leaked Email: Saudi Arabia And Qatar Are Funding ISIS (DailyCaller)

The United States is providing de-facto cover for Islamic State units in Syria and only pretending to fight terrorism in the Middle East, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said the U.S. air force had tried to hinder Russian strikes on Islamic State militants around the Syrian town of Albu Kamal.

“These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units,” the defense ministry said.

Government watchdog Judicial Watch published more than 100 pages of formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.

The documents obtained through a federal lawsuit, revealed the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be “supported” in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

The U.S. intelligence documents not only confirms suspicions that the United States and some of its coalition allies had actually facilitated the rise of the ISIS in Syria – as a counterweight to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad- but also that ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency at facilities in Jordan in 2012.

‘CIA created ISIS’, says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables (YahooNews)

Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.”

The large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to  Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq was not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”. (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).

The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite. The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria. (In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).

The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.

The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN. (CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

Confirmed by media reports, the illustrious pro-democracy former LIFG leader Abdelhakim Belhadj (alias Sadeeq), who worked in close liaison with US-NATO in 2011 has now (February 2015) joined the leadership of the Islamic State in Libya, thereby facilitating the extension of the Islamic State project into the Maghreb, on behalf of his US-NATO sponsors.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the IDF field hospital in the occupied Golan heights.

This hospital was set up to treat wounded Al Nusrah mercenaries, who are directly supported by the Israeli military operating out of the Golan Heights. The JP acknowledges that the hospital is being used to support the jihadist insurgency.

Syria’s not the target but a stepping stone

As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2010, the Saudis “want to fight the Iranians to the last American.” Why the Saudis would see this as attractive is clear. Why Netanyahu would like to go along with this also follows a certain logic. That is not the mystery in this drama. The mystery is why the president of the United States would go along with something that so clearly contradicts U.S. national interest.

“American unwillingness to confront Iran and its proxies in Syria, if obliged by circumstances, is a thing of the past,” Frederic Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and a former State Department liaison to Syrian opposition forces, told The Christian Science Monitor.

“And Moscow would now have to anticipate with high likelihood aerial combat with US forces should it elect to provide tactical air support to Iran and its proxies on the ground,” Hof added.

“Our people are gathering in the Tanf area right now, so a clash is definitely coming,” a Hezbollah unit commander in Beirut, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Monitor.

Turkey said the United States has 13 bases in Syria and Russia has five. The U.S-backed Syrian YPG Kurdish militia has said Washington has established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria.

U.S.’s Mattis says ‘zero intelligence’ that rebels in Syria’s Idlib have chemical weapons capability By Idrees Ali

New Delhi (Reuters) – There was “zero intelligence” of chemical weapons capabilities possessed by groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the province of Idlib, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said, adding that the facts did not back Russian assertions.

Syrian government forces plan a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by rebels opposed to Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in the country’s civil war.

Russian and Syrian jets hammered the rebel stronghold on Tuesday, days before the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet to discuss the expected Syrian government offensive that could spark a humanitarian disaster.

In the past few days, Russian officials, cited by Russian media, have said there was a plan by “militants” to stage a false chemical weapons attack in Idlib province to frame Assad.

“We have zero intelligence that shows the opposition has any chemical capability,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him to the Indian capital of New Delhi for a high-level dialogue on Thursday between the south Asian nation and the United States.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had told U.S. officials that Moscow was concerned over signs the United States was preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against “groundless and illegal aggression against Syria.”

“We have made very clear that by putting out innuendo that somehow any chemical weapon use coming up in the future could be ascribed to the opposition, well, we want to see the data,” Mattis said. “We cannot see anything that indicates the opposition has that capability.”

He said instead there was a history of Assad’s government using such weapons.

U.S. President Donald Trump has twice ordered U.S.-led strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians.

On Tuesday the White House said that if Assad used chemical weapons “the United States and its allies would respond swiftly and appropriately.”

Asked if he saw indications of the Syrian government preparing to use chemical weapons in Idlib, Mattis said, ” I think the best answer to that is, we are very alert.”

Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news outlet, said recently the White Helmets rescue service had delivered a large shipment of toxic substances to “local armed militant groups.”

The Pentagon said the Russian government was using a “concentrated disinformation campaign” to discredit the United States and its allies.

“That Russia is seeking to plant false lies about chemical weapons use suggests that Moscow is seeking to deflect from its own culpability when these heinous weapons are used,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Alexei Tsygankov, head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said on Sunday that the White Helmets group in Syria plans to film videos for Middle Eastern and English-language media outlets after staging a false-flag chemical weapons attack aimed at sharply destabilizing the situation in the war-torn country.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stressed that the Nusra Front terrorist group, which now refers to itself as the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, was plotting a very serious provocation in the Idlib area with the use of chemical weapons. According to the deputy minister, the White Helmets group in Syria will film a video of the “chemical attack,” and the provocation might be used as a pretext for massive strikes on Syria.

A phone call from a resident of the village of Serakab in Idlib province about the planned incident.

According to the source, on the afternoon of February 12, rebels from the Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) terrorist organization brought three cars packed with more than 20 cylinders of chlorine along with personal protective equipment to Serakab.

The White Helmets have been long hailed by the Western media as “peace-bearing heroes” who save human lives. However, the group has been dogged by allegations of having ties with terrorist groups.

Swedish Professors & Doctors For Human Rights (SWEDHR) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization engaged in the research and reporting on the effects of war-crimes, torture and human-rights transgressions on civilian populations or on individuals.

Actor George Clooney knew that the organization Swedish Doctors for Human Rights had cited the “White Helmets” as child killers when he produced the Oscar winning propaganda video.

Moreover, Google itself is involved, at war with this group and others, censoring them from their search engines.  The information here will be new to Americans.  

Please note that at no time has the White House or any western media acknowledged the controversy regarding the White Helmets, which we allege is part of al Qaeda’s propaganda operations.  Nor is any mention of the dozens of proven gas attacks by FSA, ISIS and al Nusra which are suddenly “forgotten” as though by magic.

The White Helmets, supposedly an independent NGO, receives up to $100m from the CIA and UK Foreign Office, “dark project” funding.  Murdering children is their stock and trade as we will prove.  Sharing headquarters with Turkish Intelligence in Gaziantep, Turkey this organization is far more “death squad” than civil defense.

The Chairman of the association, Professor Prof. Marcello fer rada de Noli, published at the beginning of March 2017 a first article with an analysis of the case: “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets video, macabre manipulation of dead children and staged chemical weapons attack to justify a” No-fly Zone “in Syria”.

Hundreds of Syrian White Helmets evacuated to Jordan through Israel By CBSNews

The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“We renew our call on the Assad regime and Russia to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The White Helmets have enjoyed backing and received finances and training from the United States and other Western nations for years.

The White Helmets have been called “terrorists,” accused of being “agents” for foreign powers, and of cooperating with radical insurgent groups. The White Helmets have been accused of staging rescue missions and chemical attacks to blame on the government.

Syrian lawmaker Khaled Abboud said that “foreign powers are pulling their agents out of the battlefield” because of the Syrian military victories that have quashed the “aggression” against Syria.

Separately Sunday, al-Ikhbariya TV quoted a military official as saying that a military post in the town of Masyaf in Hama province was hit by an Israeli airstrike. The area houses several defense ministry facilities.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR 

New satellite images appear to indicate that Iran is building a new ‎surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising ‎fresh concerns in Israel over the extent of the two ‎countries’ military cooperation across from Israel’s northern border, Channel 10 News recently reported.

Israel has mounted several airstrikes against ‎Iranian assets in Syria in an effort to stave off ‎Iran’s attempts to entrench itself ‎militarily in war-torn Syria.‎

Newsweek: The U.S. has also repeatedly accused Iran of supplying ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels—known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis—and currently engaged in a war against a Saudi-led coalition trying to reinstate the country’s government. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Tuesday that “Iran has been put on notice” due to their support for Assad, the Houthis and threats regarding the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil chokepoint. On Thursday, Iranian military general staff chief Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned that no oil would pass through the crucial shipping lane should the U.S. succeed in cutting Iran’s oil exports to zero, an initiative that has earned Trump widespread international criticism.  

Citing three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Reuters reported Friday that Tehran has begun supplying Shiite Muslim paramilitary groups in neighboring Iraq with short-range ballistic missiles. The missiles were identified as Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zulfiqar models with ranges varying from 124 to 435 miles, making Riyadh and Tel Aviv viable targets should the weapons be fired from western Iraq.

Bloomberg: Over the coming weeks, both NATO and Russia will launch a series of super-high-end war games. These games are hardly for fun — rather, they are deadly serious practice sessions for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of combat aircraft, and flotillas of combat ships. While no one will die (other than by accident, a not uncommon occurrence in such exercises), the messages going back and forth are crystal clear: We are prepared for war.

Russia’s exercise is called Vostok — which means “east” — and will be held principally east of the Ural Mountains. It is the largest military exercise by Russia since Soviet times (in 1981) and will deploy 300,000 troops and more than 1,000 military aircraft. Of note, China will participate with thousands of its troops operating alongside the Russians (there will also be a token contingent of troops from Mongolia, which has been a partner to both Russia and NATO at times).

NATO will conduct its own huge military exercise, named Trident Junction 2018. It will take place on the northern borders of the alliance and will involve 40,000 troops from all 29 nations, a couple of hundred aircraft and dozens of warships. While not as spectacularly large as Russia’s Vostok, it will serve as a “graduation exercise” for NATO’s new Spearhead Force, a serious, highly mobile capability that can put NATO combat troops into the Baltic states to repulse a Russian invasion within a matter of days.

Finally, it is worth looking specifically at the maritime dimension of both the Russian and NATO exercises. It is not a coincidence that the NATO operation will be commanded not by a general, but rather by a four-star U.S. admiral, Jamie Foggo. A former commander of NATO submarine forces and the legendary U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Foggo has thought deeply (and frequently published) about maritime operations in the current NATO-Russia environment. There will be significant maritime groups both from NATO and Russia operating in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean and even the Arctic.

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China’s invasion of Taiwan has already begun

By ANI

China’s invasion of the “renegade province” of has already begun. Of course, not a physical assault by military forces – not yet, at least – but rather a campaign of psychological and diplomatic pressure against that has seriously intensified in recent months.

Take, for example, the issue of airline reservations, with issuing a directive in April to 44 that they change the name “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” on their global websites.

Numerous carriers such as Qantas, Air India, Lufthansa, and caved in, even though the White Housecriticized Chinese demands as “Orwellian nonsense” and “part of a growing trend by the [CPC] to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies”.

In like fashion, the chain, clothing and Mercedes-Benz have all at some point felt China’s wrath for offending its sensibilities about descriptions of or Each apologized for not complying with China’s standards.

The Chinese government urged the U.S. not to allow Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to stop over in the U.S. on her way to Belize and Paraguay this month as she has on previous trips to Latin America. It’s Beijing’s latest gambit in an ongoing campaign to wipe Taiwan off the map as an independent political entity. This campaign is forcing everyone from national governments and NGOs to airlines and clothing companies to take a stance on the contentious issue of Taiwan’s status.

Related: China lodges complaint over Trump-Taiwan call

This Chinese pressure has been ramping up since Tsai Ing-wen of the took office in in January 2016. There was an immediate cooling of relations with Beijing, and has attempted to marginalize Taiwan at every opportunity. Tsai insists she wants to maintain the status quo in terms of bilateral relations, but the CPC fears she will push for formal independence.

Tsai is facing extreme pressure from China, as well as internal political and civil pressure to modify her stance. Nevertheless, it appears that Taiwan is the only party intent on observing the status quo in cross-straits relations. certainly is not.

In March at the National People’s Congress, said, “It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China’s complete reunification.”

Xi received rapturous applause when he threatened, “Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China.”

Related: China Is Trying to Wipe Taiwan Off the Map

Later, in June, Ma Xiaoguang, for the Taiwan Affairs Office in China, warned, “We have the stern will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence separatist plots.” He added that China “absolutely will not permit Taiwan independence forces to…interfere with the course of China’s great rejuvenation.Taiwan independence is a dead-end street.We warn Taiwan independence forces not to play with fire.”

Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, a Virginia-based think tank, told ANI, “In the past ten years, most people took peace for granted. Most thought Taiwan’s going to be absorbed.by China. They thought this is a flashpoint not worth considering anymore. The US didn’t talk much about it and nor did its allies.”

However, Easton said the threat to Taiwan has grown greatly under Xi. “There’s no question about it.Clearly his approach is different to that of Hu Jintao – his personality is different, he’s much more ambitious, much more aggressive, he’s much more interested in Taiwan than Hu Jintao was.” Easton pointed out, “has been much more focused on preparing to one day occupy the island. It’s always been the party’s and the People’s Liberation Army’s [PLA] main strategic direction ever since the collapse of the

For now, China is prosecuting a short-of-war campaign tobludgeon Taiwan. Russell Hsiao, writing for The Jamestown Foundation, delineated ten elements to this pressure campaign: poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies; military coercion; economic coercion; excluding Taiwan from international organizations; pressuring foreign corporations; pressuring Taiwan’s non-diplomatic allies; economic incentives; political warfare; cyber espionage; and traditional espionage.

Related: Donald Trump Angers China With Historic Phone Call to Taiwan’s President

Taiwan now has diplomatic relations with only 18 countries worldwide. It lost formal ties with and Príncipe in December 2016, in June 2017, and the and in May 2018, after China lured them away.

Beijing, like it did with over the topic of a US Army missile defense battery stationed on its territory, is unafraid to use its considerable economic clout against Taiwan. Thus, it limited the number of tourists travelling to the islandsince Tsai assumed office, with the number falling 700,000 in 2017 alone.

In international organizations, China has gleefully pressured others to ostracize Taiwan. Thus, Taiwan was denied observed observer status at the Health Assembly in May. Another example is the (ICAO), with China pressuring the group to exclude Taiwan. The ICAO has remained silent on China backtracking on its 2015 agreement with Taiwan over using the commercial M503 flightpath near the centerline of the

Authoritarian China, thanks to its growing technological and digital knowhow, is increasingly taking advantage of the liberties and openness of Western and Taiwanese democracies. Indeed, Easton warned that China is subverting Taiwan’s democracy, “everything from espionage to cooperating with pro-unification and organized crime syndicates in Taiwan, gunrunning, drugs and smuggling people into Taiwan. They’re going to do things that will destabilize Taiwan’s society.” Easton even spoke of operatives being mixed in with pro-unification groups and their protests, some of which have turned violent.

Related: Forget trade — the Trump administration just crossed a far more dangerous ‘red line’ with China

Work Department (UFWD) is actively engaged against Taiwan. Hsiao commented, “In Taiwan, the UFWD targets a broad range of constituencies, including aborigines, local villages and townships, youths and students, pro-China political parties and groups, and Taiwan military veterans. has previously estimated that China spends at least $337.8 million per year on UFWD recruiting efforts in Taiwan, but has also said it believes there might be more ‘invisible funding’.”

China is routinely using disinformation, propaganda, “content farms” and bots to fan the flames of social instability via UWFD proxies. Taiwan has an extremely of 82.3% and penetration rate of 73.4%, and China can relatively easily spread fake news on messaging sites such as Line, as well as imagery. One example of the latter is a picture of a Chinese H-6K bomber flying near in Taiwan. Such an event did not occur, yet the image still went viral. China is also good at misquoting officials or ex-officials in either Chinese or Taiwanese forums to show purported approval of the CPC.

Hsiao, of the Global Taiwan Institute, concluded, “The CPC has a long history of using propaganda and disinformation against Taiwan. In it has found a fertile information environment to amplify its time-honed tactics of political and psychological warfare. Flooding Taiwan’s society with propaganda and disinformation can weaken its people’s trust in democratic institutions and lead to political instability.”

He continued, “The CPC’s ultimate goal is the subjugation of Taiwan under the PRC, and propaganda and disinformation are means to weakening morale and people’s resistance towards that political end.”

Likewise, China is manipulating the cyber sphere to its advantage. Taiwan is the number one target of Chinese hacking, with a reported 20-40 million attempted hacks against its public sector each month throughout 2017.

Hsaio explained that Taiwan has suffered a number of embarrassing high-profile espionage incidents too, often involving the military. From 2006-16, some 40 Taiwanese – including military officers, businesspeople and government officials – were prosecuted for spying on behalf of China.

With such intense bullying of Taiwan and of anyone else that does not submit to Beijing’s narratives, and with mounting concerns over China’s hard-nosed One Belt, One Road initiative, China is beginning to face adverse reaction on the international stage. Ironically, Beijing’s squeezing of does permit more countries to see the ugly nature of this authoritarian regime and its leader.

While China is happy to bully those weaker than itself, it also shows a remarkably thin skin for a nation that regards itself as a global power. China was incensed by Trump accepting Tsai’s in December 2016. also feels antagonized by ongoing American military equipment sales to Taiwan, with the USA the only country willing to stand up to Chinese bluster.

China continues to ramp up pressure against Taiwan militarily. It has hundreds of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island. It has also boosted the number of military exercises near the island. For example, from August 2016 to December 2017, counted at least 26 PLA aerial exercises, of which 15 circumnavigated the island. There were just eight in 2015 and 2016 combined. The Chinese has passed Taiwan four times already.

ANI asked whether a military confrontation between China and Taiwan becomes more likely the longer Xi stays in power. Easton replied, “Yes, it does,” and he outlined two reasons. One is that Xi will inevitably get older, weaker and face more health issues. ‘There are going to be potential power struggles, and there are going to be all the problems associated with a dictatorship – especially a communist-style dictatorship – and we’ve seen this with Mao and

Easton described the potential for leaders to develop megalomania because they become godlike. “There’s already this incredible cult of personality in China, and being godlike makes people go crazy. It corrupts their sense of reality, so there’s a rea risk of that.” A related danger is that Xi will not receive accurate information from his underlings. After having done so much to eradicate opponents within the party and military, Xi could end up being surrounded by “yes men” who simply tell Xi what he wants to hear. This may lead to huge miscalculations, with Xi making decisions based on wrong assumptions.

The second reason given by Easton regarding the rising possibility of war is that the PLA will grow increasingly stronger over the coming 10-20 years. China has made huge investments in the PLA, but these may not bring a payback straight away. Indeed, it may take years to get a return on that investment.

“So a lot of the heavy military spending, research and development and training that we’re seeing right now, they’re going to come to fruition in the next one to two decades. When they do, China’s going to have so much more military power than it currently has and that it has had over its entire modern history. When that happens, I should think there’s going to be even greater temptation to do something that could be disastrous,” Easton warned.

UPDATE:

Earlier this month, a scathing editorial in Chinese state media warned the US Senate not to pass the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation to permit high-level talks between US and Taiwanese officials.

Unless US President Donald Trump “is ready to see the by and large stable and so-far profitable relationship derailed, unless he is determined to plunge his country into a pointless, mutually damaging altercation, or worse, he should resist the seducement,” the editorial said.

It added: “Unlike trade, though, Taiwan is a matter of sovereignty. For Beijing, it is a clearly defined core interest that is not negotiable.”

Anyway, on Friday, Trump signed the bipartisan bill into law.

And so here we are, with the market gearing up to watch us haggle over soybeans and Boeing aircraft (the US’s biggest exports to China, according to the Institute of International Finance ) like a farmer at the Iowa State Fair — when in reality the danger is much graver.

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