In an editorial for the state-run People’s Daily, Chinese PLA Professor Han Xudong warns that Beijing should prepare itself for a third world war which could arise out of the conflict between the United States and Russia over Ukraine.
“As the Ukrainian crisis deepens, international observers have become more and more concerned about a direct military clash between the US and Russia. Once an armed rivalry erupts, it is likely to extend to the globe. And it is not impossible that a world war could break out,” writes Xudong, noting that “the world has entered an era of new forms of global war” based around the Internet and the concept of sea power.
The professor goes on to predict, “It’s likely that there will be a third world war to fight for sea rights,” and that in order for China to be ready for this new conflict, Beijing needs to, “develop its military power based on a global war” so as to guard against becoming a passive victim of events.
Noting that “China’s overseas interests have been increasingly threatened by the US,” Xudong warns that Beijing, “must bear a third world war in mind when developing military forces, especially the sea and air forces.”
Xudong’s comments take on further significance given reports last week that Beijing recently moved 12,000 troops to the border with Russia
Economist Martin Armstrong notes that Xudong’s remarks are also aimed at Japan. “The sentiment in China for war against Japan is rising in popularity. Keep in mind that China does not confront NATO as does Russia. The prospects that we will see a conflict in Asia are rising rapidly,” he writes.
China and Russia have been moving increasingly closer in recent months as the two superpowers attempt to forge an alternative multi-polar world system in opposition to the unipolar world system represented by NATO, the EU and the United States. The two countries recently started work on building the pipeline for a $400bn deal for Gazprom to supply gas from Russia to China, the biggest natural gas deal sealed by Moscow since the collapse of the USSR.
Earlier this month, General Yury Yakubov, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official, said that part of Moscow’s revision to its military doctrine would include treating the United States and its NATO allies as an enemy threat against which preemptive nuclear strikes could be launched.