A U.S. general said in a memo on Friday that he believes the country will be at war with China by 2025, according to several outlets that obtained a copy of the communication.
“I hope I am wrong,” Gen. Mike Minihan, a four-star Air Force general who leads the Air Mobility Command (AMC), said in the memo to troops under his command, which was first reported by NBC News.
However, he added: “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason.
“United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025.”
Minihan told AMC personnel to accept some increased risk in training as they prepare for the “China fight” and sometime in February to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head.”
He also urged personnel in his command to get their personal affairs in order to “ensure they are legally ready and prepared” in March.
However, a Defense Department spokesperson told NBC that Minihan’s comments “are not representative of the department’s view on China.”
The U.S. has long walked a fine line with its ambiguous “One China” policy, which acknowledges China’s claims to sovereignty over Taiwan without accepting them and opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo.
China has taken an increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan in the last year, heightening the risk of a war being sparked that could potentially draw in the U.S.
However, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in a recent letter to Pope Francis that “armed confrontation is absolutely not an option” for the self-governing island.