China 'edges closer' to war with US as Xi Jinping loses patience, former MI6 deputy warns

China is close to concluding that its attempts to take over Taiwan will only work “through military efforts”. The ex-deputy director of MI6 Nigel Inkster told LBC this morning that the likelihood of military confrontation between China and the US was “as high as eight, on a scale of one to ten”. On Friday, Taiwan’s air force scrambled to warn away 10 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone.

The day before, Taiwan had announced an unprecedented $9bn boost to military spending to counter the threat from China.

There is also concern that the newly signed Aukus defence pact between the UK, US and Australia could lead to Britain being dragged into a war with China over Taiwan.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian branded the AUKUS pact an example of an “obsolete cold war zero-sum mentality”.

LBC host Matt Frei asked Mr Inkster: “On a scale of one to ten, how likely is it that we’ll get a military confrontation between America and China over this issue?”

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Mr Inkster responded: “We are as high as eight right now.

“The best-case scenario is that both China and the US realise that they are on a par militarily and neither has a massive advantage.

“That recognition could ensure continued if fractured peace. That is the best hope we have got.”

Mr Frei followed up: “Xi Jinping is in a hurry. He wants to get Taiwan under his belt before he leaves office, which would be for some time. But the momentum is picking up isn’t it?”

China has been adopting an increasingly aggressive stance towards Taipei, which has long received military support from the US.

Taiwan has reccently faced repeated incursions from China’s air force.

Speaking on Friday, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government had to take the threat from China seriously.

He said: “The Chinese Communists plot against us constantly.”

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