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China’s South China Sea menace a ‘dress rehearsal’ for Taiwan invasion! This is an original article from CNA FOCUS TAIWAN!

Former U.S Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger (on stage, left) is pictured during a Heritage Foundation forum in Washington Tuesday. CNA photo July 3, 2024

Washington, July 2 (CNA) Beijing’s recent provocative actions against the Philippines in the South China Sea were partly meant as a “dress rehearsal” for the invasion of Taiwan, former United States Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger said at a forum on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Heritage Foundation forum in Washington, Pottinger said Beijing’s blocking of a Philippine resupply mission on June 17 with unprecedented violence had multiple implications.

“What they’re doing is trying to demonstrate that they can blockade, create a sense of futility, and discredit the idea that the United States is going to help not only the Philippines but by extension Taiwan,” said Pottinger.

Pottinger was referring to a clash near the Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea, in which Chinese coast guard personnel were seen ramming and boarding Philippine boats and threatening Filipino sailors with knives and axes.

According to Pottinger, the incident gave Beijing a chance to picture the U.S. as feckless over the submerged reef.

“It sends a pretty dire message about Taiwan’s situation,” he said, explaining that while the Philippines is a mutual defense treaty ally of the U.S., this was not the case with Taiwan.

In fact, he said, Beijing has already attacked to such a degree that it should trigger a mutual defense treaty response between the U.S. and the Philippines if their leaders decide that it would be the best course.

“I’m not saying that means we could have war. I’m saying we need to acknowledge that that’s what’s happening and start imposing much more serious costs,” he said.

Also commenting on the presence of U.S. troops in Taiwan to train Taiwan’s military, Pottinger pointed out, it only makes sense that both sides would deepen the quality of planning and training, as well as involving other regional partners like Japan and Australia.

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