Mere days after Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to "resolutely" defend China's security interest - a veiled reference to maintaining its domination of the South China Sea - News.au has published details from a speech delivered two weeks ago by one of China's leading military commanders where he outlined a strategy to rebuff the US Navy should it take an even more interventionist posture within the nine-dash line.
Rear Admiral Lou Yuan told an audience in Shenzhen that the simmering dispute over the East and South China Seas could be decisively ended by sinking two US aircraft carriers.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that Admiral Lou gave a long speech on the state of Sino-US relations, where he declared that the trade spat was "definitely not simply friction over economics and trade," but a "prime strategic issue." And that if China wants the US to back off, it must be willing to attack US ships when they intrude in Chinese territory.
During the Dec. 20 speech to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, Lou declared that China’s anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were capable of hitting US carriers, even when they were in the middle of a "bubble" of defensive escorts.
"What the United States fears the most is taking casualties," Admiral Lou declared.
He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.
"We’ll see how frightened America is."
Lou also explained what he described as the US's five vulnerabilities, and insisted that China must not hesitate to strike back at any of them should a US fleet even dare to stop in Taiwan.
In his speech, he said there were ‘five cornerstones of the United States’ open to exploitation: their military, their money, their talent, their voting system — and their fear of adversaries.
Admiral Lou, who holds an academic military rank - not a service role - said China should "use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings. Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit. Wherever the enemy is weak …"
"If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on (invade) the island," Admiral Lou said.
Should Taiwan become increasingly restive, China possesses the capability to stage a military takeover of the island in 100 hours, Lou said. This eventuality is more likely than many might believe, Lou said, adding that 2018 could be a "year of turmoil" for Taiwan, and that a military conflict was possible.
"Achieving China’s complete unity is a necessary requirement. The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty. Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future."
"The PLA is capable of taking over Taiwan within 100 hours with only a few dozen casualties," said retired lieutenant general Wang Hongguang.
"2018 is a year of turmoil for Taiwan, and a possible military conflict may take place in Taiwan soon. (But) As long as the US doesn’t attack China-built islands and reefs in the South China Sea, no war will take place in the area."
US military commanders have long warned that China's growing military presence in the Pacific is a serious threat to US security, and China has underscored these concerns by organizing military drills explicitly to threaten Taiwan. Indeed, a military conflict with China remains one of the most widely cited "black swan" risks to global security - a possibility that has only been exacerbated by the trade conflict.