South China Sea: More ‘confrontation’ to come predicts expert

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Tensions between China and the US will continue to blow up, according to the BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson. He spoke with Professor Rana Mitter, from the University of Oxford’s China Centre, who predicted that there will be military clashes that could put the two powers on the brink of war. This comes amid an increase in Chinese military activity near Taiwan.

BBC News host Reeta Chakrabarti said: “Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as US president will be to the UK for the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.

“That will be followed by a NATO summit in Brussels, as he seeks to reassert America’s global leadership amid rising tensions with China and Russia.

“In recent week, both countries have escalated their military activity recently – China around Taiwan – and Russia on the border of Ukraine.”

Dr Alina Polyakova said that the Kremlin was “very clearly” using Ukraine “to test the new US administration”.

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She said: “The massive build-up in Ukraine’s east, this is very much for the Biden administration.

“Putin made that very clear in his speech he delivered to the Russian people earlier this week.”

On China, Professor Rana Mitter told the BBC: “I think a war between the US and China in the region is extremely unlikely.

“Some people have started using the expression ‘Not Cold War, but Hot Peace’ to describe what’s going on.

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“I think that is accurate. There will be a lots of blow-ups in the region in terms of rhetoric and even confrontation that come near to being problematic.”

Mr Simpson added: “We can expect a lot more confutation to come.”

US officials fear said that the odds of conflict between Beijing and Taiwan have gone up, especially since China’s crackdown on Hong Kong

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China has around 100 times as many ground force personnel as Taiwan and a military budget 25 times as large, according to Pentagon data

In other news, the Philippines has moved to call China’s bluff and challenges its aggression in the contentious South China Sea.

This comes amid mounting tensions between the two powers.

Manila has repeatedly called on Beijing to withdraw its “maritime militia” vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.

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