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China ‘preparing for war’ with US, expert warns

China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) sailors stand before the first Type 075 class of amphibious assault ship, Sept. 25, 2019. (China's People's Liberation Army Navy/Released)
April 06, 2022

Jonathan D.T. Ward, a global consultant on U.S.-China relations, said in a Tuesday Fox Business interview that he believes China is preparing for a war with the U.S. as well as its neighboring Asian countries.

Ward is the author of “China’s Vision of Victory” and leads the U.S.-China relations consulting firm Atlas Organization. He began the interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo by noting a recent call between Chinese and Ukrainian diplomats. Ward assessed China is “playing both sides” and “trying to keep up an appearance of being a good actor” for its European trade partners, all while being a “fervent supporter of Moscow.”

Ward said a major component of China’s long-term strategy is to increasingly partner with Russia, and he sees that as a critical piece of how China prepares for a potential war with other Asian countries or the U.S.

“China is preparing for war with the United States and Asia, and if and when that happens, they want Russia as their partner on that date,” Ward said. “You know, this is a joint idea of taking down the U.S.-led order. I mean, they’ve been absolutely clear about that in their communications and, you know, being able to work together, building their military relationship and having that underlying economic relationship in which China absolutely has the upper hand and therefore a great deal of leverage over Russia, but they have a shared joint ideological enterprise.”

After Russian forces attacked Ukraine, China refused to call Russia’s military actions an “invasion” and blamed the conflict on the U.S. In February, a Chinese media outlet also appeared to accidentally release internal instructions to the Chinese press to avoid sharing posts that are unfavorable to Russia or favorable to Western assessments of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Ming Jinwei, a senior editor for China’s official news agency Xinhua, also said near the start of the Ukraine conflict that “China has to back Russia up with emotional and moral support while refraining from treading on the toes of the United States and European Union.” Ming said, “In the future, China will also need Russia’s understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all.”

Ward said, “Beijing is recycling Moscow’s propaganda, and they’re on the same page about their idea of contesting the United States in both Europe and Asia. So that’s really the deeper heart of this matter. Beijing is not going to throw that away because they sort of need Russia in order to fulfill their broader geopolitical goals.”

Ward identified one potential problem for China in the form of growing distrust from European trade partners.

“They’ve obviously put themselves in the trap of having, at this point, raised a lot of skepticism in Europe,” Ward said. “And I think people are calling into question their economic relations. That’s where we need to take action.”

In addition to backing Russia with moral support, China has reportedly spoken with Russia about backfilling their depleted military supplies and giving them economic support.

“You know, not only the genocide, the military buildup, but the support for Moscow in the first major land war in Europe in, you know, 75 years; I mean, this should be enough for us to understand that it’s time to roll back the economic relationship, and you can start by looking at the Chinese companies that are going to be tacitly engaging with Russia as the regime comes under further pressure,” Ward said. “That’s going to be a space, I think, for sanctions. I think we should be bold about that.”