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Risk of armed conflict in Taiwan Strait is 'all-time high': Beijing-backed think tank

ANI | Updated: May 21, 2021 19:58 IST


Beijing [China], May 21 (ANI): As tensions have risen across the Taiwan Strait, the risk of armed conflict is an "all-time high", according to a Beijing-backed think-tank.
The China Cross-Strait Academy released a report on Wednesday on relations across the 180-km wide stretch of water that separates mainland China from Taiwan, South China Morning Post reported.
The report was released after US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) transited the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate America's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The think tank said researchers had looked at factors including the two sides' military strength, trade relations, public opinion, political events and support from allies, concluding that they were "on the brink of war".
Its conclusion was based on an index of the risk level of armed conflict across the strait, which the researchers put at 7.21 for 2021, on a scale of minus 10 to 10.
They also looked at the same factors dating back to the 1950s to come up with comparative risk indexes. They said in the early 1950s, when the anti-communist Nationalist forces had fled from the mainland to Taiwan, the index was lower than it is now, at 6.7.
The think tank, based in Hong Kong, is newly founded and led by Lei Xiying, a committee member of the Communist Party-backed All-China Youth Federation.

"But considering the explosive situation now, huge uncertainties and the stakes involved if anyone makes a wrong judgment or a wrong move, it is not wrong to say that the risk level across the Taiwan Strait is at an unprecedented high level," Lim said.
"Beijing used to believe that as long as Sino-US relations are under control, Taiwan will not be a problem," Lim said. "But ... Sino-US relations took a nosedive under Trump and there are no signs of improvement now with the Joe Biden administration, which is relying more on allies like Taiwan to contain China."
The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometre-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia.
The strait is in international waters, however, China claims Taiwan as its own territory and regards the US Navy's presence in the area as a show of support for the island's democratic government.
China accused the US on Wednesday of threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
In a statement on the Defence Ministry website, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command Col. Zhang Chunhui said the US actions were "sending wrong signals to the 'Taiwan independence forces, deliberately disrupting and sabotaging the regional situation and endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
He said Chinese forces tracked and monitored the ship and "strictly guarded against all threats and provocations."
Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. (ANI)

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