China's OTHER opportunity for military aggression

President Xi Jinping must be frothing at the bit as he can eye two opportunities for reclaiming what once was Chinese territory. Like Russian President Vladimir Putin, an expansionist at heart, Xi makes no bones about possibly reclaiming one of these opportunities by force. However, it is the other that, while highly unlikely to happen, nonetheless, must at least be crossing Xi’s mind.

From the standpoint of China’s pride, both opportunities have long been festering wounds.

The first, obviously, is Taiwan. Both by his words and actions, Xi continues to threaten he will bring it back into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fold. He antagonized Taiwan one last time in 2022 by sending 71 aircraft and seven military ships within a 24-hour period to harass the island nation Dec. 25-26. He may well be encouraged by the timing of ongoing world events to act upon this opportunity soon, sensing an America in crisis in the form of being distracted by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and also being led by an incompetent president.

Undoubtedly, with the Ukraine war now entering its 11th month and Russia continuing to suffer battlefield setbacks, Xi wonders how much longer this conflict can possibly continue to provide him with the requisite viable distraction he needs to so act. Putin was the recipient of coal in his stocking from Santa over the Christmas holidays, having learned of the devastating military losses he suffered (nearly 550 soldiers and five tanks) over the holidays. Putin has made mention of being open to peace talks, but preconditions he has set do not make them likely for now.

Of interest, however, is the recent report that Xi sent Putin a letter demanding a written response as to how and when he will end the Ukraine war. That response was hand delivered by Russian ex-President Dmitry Medvedev, demonstrating the importance Putin put on Xi’s demand. But as Xi’s query obviously cannot be linked to any humanitarian concerns he may harbor about the war, the question arises whether the answer he needed was important for his own planning purposes in pursuing one of his two opportunities.

The second opportunity is much closer to home for China to pursue, although, again, it is highly unlikely to be pursued. It must be giving the Chinese leader pause for thought, however, based on what Ukraine’s battlefield successes have revealed about Russia as, nuclear weapons aside, it is now perceived to be somewhat of a toothless tiger.

In 2020, when Russian officials posted a video marking the 160th anniversary celebration of the founding of Vladivostok, Chinese officials saw red. They reminded Russia that Vladivostok was Chinese territory under the Qing dynasty in the 19th century. While Russia had built a military harbor there, it was only after it had annexed the city of Haishenwai under the Treaty of Peking – a treaty allegedly forced upon China by Great Britain after China’s defeat in the Opium War (1856-1860).

With Putin focused on operations in Ukraine and his military suffering significant losses of both personnel and equipment, the timing would be ideal for Xi to demand the return of Vladivostok.

A seed for a Russia-China border conflict was planted 163 years ago. Whether conditions ripen for that seed to suddenly blossom into an armed conflict is most unlikely. However, one never knows what evil lurks in the minds of two power-hungry dictators when, seeking to fulfill their nations’ expansionist dreams, find themselves facing-off against each other.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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