Chinese Rear Admiral Lou Yuan said that the disputes in the East and South China Seas could be solved in China’s favor simply by sinking two US aircraft carriers, News.au reported, citing Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
Reportedly, the Taiwan outlet said that Admiral Lou gave a speech covering US-China relations, saying that the trade war was “definitely not simply friction over economics and trade,” but was instead a “prime strategic issue.”
The speech was delivered on December 20th at the 2018 Military Industry List summit. There is no official translated transcript or video showing the speech. However, according to the report, Admiral Lou declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting a US aircraft carrier, despite them being the pinnacle of military might.
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Admiral Lou declared.
He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.
“We’ll see how frightened America is.”
Furthermore, Lou allegedly said that the there are “five cornerstones of the US,” which may be exploited as weaknesses: its military, money, talent, voting system and its fear of adversaries.
Admiral Lou hold an academic rank, not a service one. He said China should “use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings. Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit. Wherever the enemy is weak …”
Earlier, on December 9th, the Chinese state outlet Global Times published a piece expressing the views of other hawkish Chinese military commentators. Admiral Lou was one of the cited people.
“If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on (invade) the island,” he was cited as saying. “Achieving China’s complete unity is a necessary requirement. The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty. Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future.”
There were other hawkish voices too:
“The PLA is capable of taking over Taiwan within 100 hours with only a few dozen casualties,” said retired lieutenant general Wang Hongguang. “2018 is a year of turmoil for Taiwan, and a possible military conflict may take place in Taiwan soon. (But) As long as the US doesn’t attack China-built islands and reefs in the South China Sea, no war will take place in the area.”
Furthermore, to add fuel to the fire, on December 31st, US President Donald Trump signed a bill that is aimed at enhancing US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and reaffirming Washington’s commitment to arms sales to Taiwan.
The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 purports “to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners.”
The bill was initially introduced in April 2018 by senators Cory Gardner, Ed Markey, Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin.
It serves as a policy framework to enhance U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and to demonstrate a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the rules-based international order, according to Gardner.
In Section 209, the bill states that it is the policy of the U.S. to support the close economic, political and security relationship with Taiwan.
That should include “supporting the efforts of Taiwan to develop and integrate asymmetric capabilities, as appropriate, including mobile and cost-effective capabilities, into its military forces,” the bill says.
Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry welcomed the US support coming from both parties in the Congress. China continues to condemn all announcements of and actual weapon sales to Taiwan by the US.