Beijing could make a move on Taiwan in 2025, Mike Minihan said in a memo obtained by NBC
A senior US Air Force commander warned his subordinates that they should brace for war with China over Taiwan in just two years, NBC reported on Saturday, citing internal documents.
In a memo obtained by the outlet and confirmed by US officials, General Mike Minihan, the head of Air Mobility Command, said that as both the US and Taiwan will be "distracted" by their presidential elections in 2024, Beijing will be able to make a move against the self-governed island.
"I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025," the memo said, according to the report. The document is referred to all wing commanders in Air Mobility Command and other Air Force operational commanders and orders them to report on all major efforts related to a potential stand-off with China within one month.
The memo also tells US service members in AMC to "fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head," as quoted by NBC. US commanders are also urged not to shy away from risks during drills. "If you are comfortable in your approach to training, then you are not taking enough risk," Minihan wrote.
While an AMC spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the memo, an unnamed Pentagon official told NBC that "these comments are not representative of the department's view on China."
Tensions over Taiwan soared after then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August last year, despite strong objections from the Chinese leadership, with a number of other Western officials following suit.
Beijing viewed the visit by a senior US official as a violation of the One-China policy by Washington.
In October, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that, although Beijing seeks peaceful "reunification" with Taiwan, it "will never promise to give up the use of force" and reserves the option to "take all necessary measures" to achieve this goal.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be sovereign Chinese territory under the One-China policy. The island has been ruled by nationalists since 1949, when they fled the mainland with US help after losing the Chinese Civil War to the communists.