Head of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command General Mike Miniha has predicted in a recent two page internal memo that the country is likely to be engaged in a major conventional war with China in the near future, and called for the necessarily preparations. “Unrepentant lethality matters most,” he stressed, calling for personnel to “aim for the head” in target practice accordingly. Writing in the introduction, the general stated: “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” he stated, claiming Beijing could seek to reunify the territory of Taiwan with the mainland by force in 2025. This in turn could potentially trigger an American military response. Minihan’s memo elaborated that “We spent 2022 setting the foundation for victory… We will spend 2023 in crisp operational motion building on that foundation,” although he warned that the Air Mobility Command needed to “go faster” and “drive readiness, integration, and agility for ourselves and the Joint Force to deter, and if required, defeat China.” The goal, he said, was to field “a fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Manoeuvre Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.”
Although the United States, the UN and all UN member states recognise Taiwan as part of China, Washington has been ambitious as to whether moves by Beijing to capture the territory could result in an American military response. Taiwan is currently under a separate government from the People’s Republic of China on the mainland – the Republic of China – and claims sovereignty over all Chinese territory. Taipei is not diplomatically recognised by the United States or at the United Nations, although its forces have received growing support from Washington including new arms supplies and calls to provide military aid. This has been controversial due to the Taipei government’s non-state status, and has been strongly opposed by Beijing. The existence of two rival Chinese governments, one based in Beijing and the other in Taipei, is a direct result of the Chinese Civil War which ended on the mainland in 1949, with the losing Guomindang party having fled to Taiwan and been placed under the protection of the U.S. Navy in 1950.