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House Republican warns of pending conflict with China

Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says he agrees with a general’s recent assessment about the likelihood of war

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Days after a four-star general in the Air Force predicted the United States could be at war with China in two years, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday he agreed with that assessment.

“I hope he’s wrong as well, but I think he’s right, though, unfortunately,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

On Friday, Gen. Michael A. Minihan sent a memo to officers he commands warning about a fight with China. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” he wrote in the memo, which was dated Feb. 1 but has already been distributed to his subordinates.

McCaul said Sunday that China is looking to take control of Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory. First, China will try to influence the elections in Taiwan next year, McCaul said. If that influence effort fails, McCaul said, “they are going to look at a military invasion, in my judgment. And we have to be prepared for this.”

McCaul contended that President Biden was projecting weakness and that “the odds are very high we can see a conflict with China and Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, disagreed with McCaul and the general, telling Fox News Sunday, “It’s not only not inevitable, it is highly unlikely.”

Smith did acknowledge, “We have a very dangerous situation in China,” and generals have to prepare for a wide range of possibilities. But, Smith warned against generals publicly talking up the possibility of a military conflict, and said, “I am fully confident that we can avoid that conflict if we take the right approach.”