11 February 2021
China In Context is a new weekly podcast featuring leading academics and associates at the SOAS China Institute. Its host, Duncan Bartlett, is the Editor of Asian Affairs magazine and a former BBC presenter.
In the first episode of the podcast, Professor Steve Tsang, Director of the SOAS China Institute discusses the mounting tension between China and the United States and how it threatens to spill over into armed conflict, with Taiwan as the flashpoint.
Professor Tsang believes that China is preparing to mount an invasion of Taiwan, which could draw the Americans into a battle for its defence.
“No country has invested more in building up an amphibian assault capability than China,” Professor Tsang told the China In Context podcast. “I therefore think it’s reasonable to expect that sometime in the next ten to twenty years, when those capabilities are fully in place, the Chinese will move to Taiwan,” he said.
When asked about how the current situation compares to the Cold War between America and the USSR, Professor Tsang said he is “much more concerned about now”.
He told podcast host Duncan Bartlett that “the Chinese government has made it very clear they would like the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to win wars” and that “Xi Jinping wants China to be regarded as the top power in the world.”
President Biden invited the de facto Taiwanese ambassador to attend its inauguration ceremony and a spokesman said his commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid.”
China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province and recently flew military aircraft, including eight bombers, into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.