Any attempt by China’s communist regime to invade Taiwan would be a “catastrophic miscalculation,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned.
Speaking at the NATO summit in Madrid, Truss said Beijing is in danger of making the same mistake that Russian President Vladimir Putin made in Ukraine.
“We’ve seen increased collaboration between Russia and China and we know that China is watching Ukraine closely. They’re expanding their military capability and they’re extending their global influence,” she said.
Truss said that NATO’s new strategic report will make “specific reference” to China because “it isn’t just an issue for the Indo-Pacific region, it’s also an issue for Euro-Atlantic security.”
She warned: “I do think that with China extending its influence through economic coercion and building a capable military there is a real risk that they draw the wrong idea which results in a catastrophic miscalculation such as invading Taiwan.”
‘Economic Alternatives’ Needed
The foreign secretary said it is important that “the free world work together to help ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself and to stress the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
She said Western nations needed to develop economic alternatives to China to ensure they do not become dependent on it in the way some countries are on Russian oil and gas.
“This isn’t just about hard security. It is about economic security,” said Truss.
She said the increased dependency of Europe on Russian oil and gas “contributed to a sense in which Russia felt enabled to invade Ukraine.”
She said the West needs to learn the lesson “as soon as possible,” avoid becoming “strategically dependent on China,” and make sure it has “strong alternatives.”
The China Challenge
The Madrid summit will focus on NATO’s future in response to not just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also the emergence of China as a military threat.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies will agree that China “is a challenge to our values, to our interests, and to our security.”
General Sir Patrick Sanders, the British Army’s Chief of the General Staff, said at a London event on June 28 that the West “cannot ignore the exponential rise and chronic challenge of China, not just within the South China Sea but through its sub-threshold activities across the globe.”
He said European countries should take up the burden of defending their own continent to free up U.S. resources that can be used to tackle the threat posed by the Chinese regime.
PA Media contributed to this report.