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China likely ramp up pressure on Taiwan next year: UK academician

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Taipei | January 17, 2022 1:21:06 PM IST
China is likely to increase pressure on Taiwan next year, a prominent British historian and writer said while adding that deterrence is key to withstanding Beijing's military threats.

Niall Ferguson, who is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, made the remarks last week at a virtual event organized by the Taipei School of Economics and Political Science Foundation, English language newspaper Taipei Times reported.

This comes as Beijing has mounted pressure on Taiwan in recent months. Besides breaking Taipei's defense identification zone on dozens of occasions, it has repeatedly threatened to take over the island by force which it considers as a breakaway province.

According to Ferguson, Beijing would likely increase pressure on Taiwan after the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 20th National Congress concludes in the autumn, when Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a third term as leader.

Ferguson argued that Xi sees bringing Taiwan under Chinese control as the ultimate goal of his leadership. He added that domestic problems in China, such as a slowing economy and a growing debt problem, have threatened the legitimacy of the communist party.

The British historian said China has been facing a backlash from the international community over accusations that it covered up the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan in 2019. It is also being criticized for its "wolf-warrior" diplomacy, Ferguson said.

The US -- along with its allies -- should be committed to a credible deterrence strategy that could prevent "China from acting recklessly concerning Taiwan," Ferguson said. "Deterrence is key here."

"And it's not just the US that can deter China. It's the US and [its] allies," he said, referring to other nations which have expressed concerns over security and stability in the Taiwan Strait. (ANI)

 
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