With China cutting off several routes of military communications with the United States, the risk of a dangerous miscalculation remains even after Beijing's week-long military exercises around Taiwan. Experts say it's on the rise.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced eight countermeasures in response to the visit to Taiwan of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has a long track record of challenging Beijing on democracy and human rights.
Measures announced last week included the suspension of three major bilateral military talks. Theater Commander Spokesperson, Defense Policy Coordination Consultations and Conferences on Sino-US Sino-US Relations
The Military Maritime Consultative Agreement in Beijing, which focuses on maritime security issues, has also been threatened with military retaliation in the wake of Pelosi's visit. and imposed sanctions on the Speaker of the House and his family.
Washington said it would be "irresponsible" to cancel bilateral military talks amid heightened tensions, and China said the move would be "a joint effort between the United States and Taiwan."
Shirley Kang, an adviser to the Global Taiwan Institute and a former expert on Asian security issues for the Congressional Research Service, argued that in times of crisis, communications He told VOA Mandarin that it would be "reckless" to cut it off.
In an email reply to VOA Mandarin, Kan explained why he believes Beijing has canceled the talks.
"The reason is that the weaker PLA [PLA] needs to obey the general secretary of the CCP, who controls communications with foreign countries," she wrote. increase. “However, the PLA must be mature enough to use an open line of communication with the Pentagon in times of crisis.”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been secretary-general since 2012. and is likely to be re-elected as Secretary-General at the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) this fall.
While condemning China's decision to cut communications, John Kirby, communications coordinator for the White House's National Security Council, noted that communications between US and Chinese military personnel remained unresolved. Pointed out that the pathway is open.
"In conclusion, we will continue our efforts to keep communication channels open that protect our interests and values," Kirby said at a briefing last week.
Jacob Stokes, Fellow of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New America Security in Washington, D.C., told VOA Mandarin that canceled talks were "generally more scripted and more mutual understanding over time."
"As NSC's John Kirby pointed out, not all military-to-military communications have been cut. What remains is the high level." He told VOA Mandarin in an email. The communication channel between the Chairman of the General Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and the PLA Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Li Zuocheng, all may still be operational.”
Shortly before terminating the military dialogue. , China began several days of live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan on August 4. The exercise included launching ballistic missiles and conducting exercises to organize a blockade around Taiwan. Chinese state media CGTN said the exercises by the People's Liberation Army involved personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force.
The PLA last conducted such exercises in 1996. Its purpose was to signal then-President Lee Teng-hui to move away from the "one China" policy, Beijing's position that he has only one Chinese government. , an autonomous island of Taiwan, is a separate province.
On Wednesday, the People's Liberation Army signaled the end of the exercise, three days behind schedule. Also on Wednesday, China's Taiwan office reaffirmed Beijing's threat to use military force to take control of autonomous Taiwan.
"We are always ready to respond to any external interference or extreme actions by the Separatists with force or any other means necessary. The ultimate goal of China is to secure the prospects for China's peaceful reunification and move this process forward," according to the English version of the People's Liberation Army's Chinese statement.
"China's actions are clear." China created the crisis as a means of punishing Taiwan and the United States on Pelosi's visit to Taiwan," Stokes said. Speaking to VOA Mandarin, he added that Beijing's main goal is to convey the message that "such visits are dangerous."
Amanda Xiao, a senior analyst at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said in a telephone interview with VOA Mandarin that Beijing's crisis management mechanism deliberately obscured its intentions during the crisis. said to keep it.
She explained Beijing's calculation as follows. By leaving it unknown and uncertain, there is a greater chance that I can dissuade you, as it affects your calculations.
"We are going through a particularly difficult time in our bilateral relations. We tend to turn against each other," Xiao continued. “There is a high chance that we will miscalculate and misunderstand each other's actions, so unintended escalation of conflict is more likely in this political environment.”