By Hu Xijin Source: Global Times
The guided-missile destroyer Huhhot (Hull 161) attached to a destroyer flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command steams in waters of the South China Sea during a maritime training exercise in Mid-July, 2019. Photo:China Military
People often ask me, if a military clash breaks out between China and the US, which side will be the winner?
In terms of overall military strength, who is more powerful, China or the US? It must be the US. However, when it comes to China’s coastal waters, China’s maritime strength plus onshore combat power vs the maritime strength of the US, it is difficult to say which side is more powerful. If you haven’t tried it, there will be uncertainty.
If it comes to China’s core interests, Taiwan, for example, crosses the line under the US encouragement and leads to a military showdown, then at that time there will be a contest of wills as well as a contest of strength. Who’s at the upper hand in that situation? It’s a combination of military strength plus morality plus the will to fight. Who do you think would be stronger in a war off China’s coast?
So the US should be reminded to distance itself from China’s core interests. Don’t play with fire off China’s coast, don’t really stir up conflict over Taiwan question, and don’t overdo it in the South China Sea. If the Trump administration just wants to create China-US tensions to help his re-election campaign, and is not really ready for a military showdown, then be careful for the next few months, and don’t go too far.
China certainly doesn’t want a war. My suggestion is that under no circumstances should the Chinese military fire the first shot. But I am confident that China will be well prepared to fire a second shot as a response to the first shot. On core interests, China will not back off. China’s stance is clear to all. The best way is for China and relevant parties to respect each other’s core interests. If the core interests of both sides overlap, the dispute should be carefully managed, not allowed to ferment and get out of control.
Having experienced several wars and upheavals, I know that peace is really the most precious thing and defending peace is not easy. At a time when relations between China and the US are deteriorating rapidly and some forces are poised to take advantage of changes in the big picture, China’s will, wisdom, and ability to master the situation will be tested over time.
The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. [email protected]