By Philip Lenczycki
- China held an emergency meeting to examine how it could protect itself from potential future sanctions, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
- “I’m surprised that it took them so long to figure out they needed to develop anti-sanction strategies,” Ambassador John Bolton told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.
- “Beijing is planning to go to war,” Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told the DCNF.
China is exploring how to avoid economic sanctions in preparation for war, several experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.
China convened an emergency internal conference on April 22 seeking to determine how the nation might avoid future sanctions similar to those levied against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Monday. That meeting likely betrays China’s intention to launch a military offensive in the foreseeable future, experts told the DCNF.
Ambassador John Bolton, former President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, told the DCNF he believes the meeting signals China’s militaristic ambitions.
“I’m surprised that it took them so long to figure out they needed to develop anti-sanction strategies,” Bolton said. “I’m surprised they haven’t prepared defenses more adequately before, but that certainly seems to be what they’re trying to do here.”
“It’s not just my assessment, it’s China’s assessment: they believe Biden is weak,” Bolton said, noting how former President Bill Clinton dispatched two aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996 as a show of force. “I don’t think anybody believes Joe Biden would do that today.”
Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told the DCNF he believes the emergency meeting signals China’s intention to go to war.
“Beijing is planning to go to war, and, obviously, they’re trying to protect themselves in the event they do. This should be a warning to the United States that war is coming,” Chang said. “The United States had excellent intel on Russia’s intentions with regard to Ukraine, and yet failed to deter them … We should not be taken by surprise a second time.”
“I don’t think [hostilities would break out] this year because there’s intense political infighting at the top of the party in the run up to the 20th National Congress,” Chang said, who characterized Chinese Communist Party member Jia Qingguo‘s criticism of “absolute security” as being indicative of factional conflict in a February Newsweek article. “But after that, I think all bets are off.”
While China might resort to military action, Bolton told the DCNF he believes sanctions can also be used as deterrence.
“The Chinese would always prefer to get their objectives without having to use military force. It’s one reason I think they’re deterrable, if we’re prepared to use economic measures against them effectively,” Bolton said. “They may be prepared to use military force if we look weak enough, but that’s why it’s important that if we want to avoid hostilities to make sure there are economic weapons to be used effectively.”
The U.S. has spearheaded efforts to sanction Russia for its warmongering, targeting its largest banks, state-owned enterprises, as well as Russian elite, according to a White House statement.
However, while Bolton said that the U.S. would be wise to prepare for economic pain if it intends to use sanctions against China, Chang said China has more to fear from sanctions than the U.S.
“[Sanctions] would have a greater effect on China than the United States because China needs us far more than we need China,” Chang said.
Yet Derek Scissors, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told the DCNF he didn’t believe China’s alleged emergency conference was particularly revealing.
“I don’t think the Chinese evaluating financial sanctions on Russia tells us much about [China’s] short-term intentions,” Scissors said. “It’s easy for the U.S. to freeze Russian reserves because there are so few American assets in Russia to be seized in return. This is not true for American assets in [China], with new money pouring in 2017-2020.”