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“Xi Jinping is angry with Putin”

“Xi Jinping is angry with Putin”


Xi Jinping flexes his muscles. Not only is China sending warships and fighter jets to Taiwan again, but the Chinese president is also putting Vladimir Putin in his place. An overview.

It's a frightening sight: Chinese units surround the island republic of Taiwan on Thursday and Friday. Warships are heading towards the island and 35 fighter jets are reported to have entered Taiwanese airspace. Chinese President Xi Jinping is sticking to his goal of reunifying Taiwan with the mainland – if necessary, China would also use force. During the military maneuver, the Chinese army wanted to practice cutting off the island from supply routes. A clearly threatening gesture.

This military maneuver comes at a time when China is very active in foreign policy. Xi visited Europe and soon after received Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin in Beijing. It has become clear that Chinese leaders are ready to show Russia who currently has the upper hand.

In an interview with t-online, China expert Klaus Mhlhahn explains what the threat to Taiwan means and when Beijing will be ready to end Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine.

t-online: Mr. Mhlhahn, the Chinese army carried out a major maneuver in the maritime area around Taiwan on Thursday and Friday. Was this a show of military force or is China planning an invasion?

Klaus Mhlhahn: China has carried out similar maneuvers in the past. They have fired missiles directly at Taiwan before, often in response to something that angered Chinese leaders. This maneuver does not constitute a new level of escalation, but we should not take it lightly. China is crossing more and more limits.

What could have triggered this maneuver this time?

We do not know it. This militarization coincided with the inauguration of Taiwan's new president Lai Ching-te, and it is no coincidence. Perhaps Chinese leaders didn't like Lai Ching-te's speech at his inauguration or don't like him in general.

Klaus Mhlhahn

Born in Constance in 1963, he studied sinology in Berlin and obtained his doctorate there. Next come the research stations in Berlin and Berkeley, in the United States. In 2004, Mhlhahn was appointed professor at the University of Turku in Finland. He has been president of Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen since 2020.

In this military maneuver, China led to the siege of Taiwan, also in view of possible intervention by the United States. These exercises now seem terribly concrete.

In reality. China is not content with letting a few missiles fly over Taiwan, it is showing that it has concrete plans. They trained to isolate the island and cut Taiwan off from its logistics. This is all very worrying.

Over the past two years, we have seen Russian President Vladimir Putin completely misunderstand his invasion of Ukraine. Has his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping learned lessons from this?

For sure. Xi will not do what Putin did, who completely underestimated Ukraine's will to resist. China will only go to war if it is certain of winning that war.

Putin was probably also sure of winning quickly. But he was wrong.

China is much more cautious. The question regarding Taiwan is also how big Taiwan's defense will be. After all, Taiwanese society is divided and much of the opposition rejects military conflict with China. So it's not like Ukraine.

Would Xi Jinping really risk war with the United States to conquer this island?

Of course he wants to prevent this. This is why China is closely monitoring the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and also monitoring where the Western borders are. Ukraine is supported by weapons, but not by Western troops. Beijing probably thinks the situation would be similar to that in Taiwan. The Americans do not decide whether they will intervene, they leave the door open.




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