Warning comes after Trump signalled he would block Chinese takeover of South China Sea and disputed Japanese islands
A WAR between nuclear armed China and US would spell doom for the world even if conventional weapons were exclusively used, experts are warning.
Tension between the Pacific powers has been at boiling point following the election of Donald Trump who has repeatedly vowed to take China on.
China is furious following the recent US deployment on the Thaad missile defence system to South Korea because it could be used against them as well as against Kim Jong-un.
Beijing military chiefs have responded by announcing last month it would be deploying intercontinental nuclear missiles to a spot where they could be launched against the US.
And since his inauguration, the President has suggested he’s not afraid of a military contest to protect Taiwan which China argues is a renegade state belonging to them.
Washington’s new hard-line stance on Chinese aggression was again made clear on Saturday when US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the US was ready to protect islands owned by Japan but which China claims.
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But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has called on Trump’s administration to mind its own business.
He said: “We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks on the issue involving the Diaoyu islands’ sovereignty, and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation.”
And the ruling Communist Party mouthpiece, The People’s Daily today ,warned:“Were the United States and China to wage war on one another, the whole world would divide itself.”
Experts speaking to the Independent agreed that any conflict could spiral out of control with terrifying consequences.
Trevor McCrisken, associate professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick, said that if war began “we would be looking, I would imagine, at World War Three”.
He said:”From a global strategic risk level I would say the last thing you want is war between the United States and any of the major powers because of the risks of escalation, obviously the potential for nuclear weapons to be used.”
But even if both sides stepped back from using nukes the results would be terrifying.
Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies at King’s College London and director of the Lau China Institute there, said war would cause an economic calamity.
He said: “It would, of course, totally upend supply routes, however, and probably cause a global recession.
“So it would, no matter who won in terms of military outcomes, be lose-lose and cut against the logic of self interest of both the US and China.”
But the US could even be dragged into a lethal war with China if it attacks North Korea, experts warn.
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