A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — most likely over Taiwan — and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness this year.
In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command Commander General Mike Minihan said that the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China.
“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan said.
Photo: Jake Greenberg / US Navy / Handout via Reuters
Minihan said that Taiwan’s presidential election next year would offer Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) an excuse for military aggression, while the US would be distracted by its own contest for the White House.
“Xi’s team, reason and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,” he added.
The memorandum also calls on all US mobile command personnel to go to the firing range, “fire a clip” into a target and “aim for the head.”
A Pentagon spokesperson responded to an e-mail query about the memo saying that “yes, it’s factual that he sent that out.”
Senior US officials have said in the past few months that China appears to be speeding up its timeframe to annex Taiwan.
China staged major military exercises around Taiwan in August last year, seen as a trial run for an invasion after a defiant visit of solidarity to Taipei by then-US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The US switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but sells weapons to Taiwan for self-defense.
A growing number of US lawmakers have called for ramping up assistance, including sending direct military aid to Taiwan, saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for early preparation.
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