The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation has a stark warning about the future of U.S.-Chinese relations.
According to Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), armed conflict between the United States and China is imminent.
"I would predict there will be a clash within the next three to six months," Yoho told the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Ted Yoho. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Relations with China have deteriorated in recent years. The erosion has been accelerated by President Donald Trump's trade war with Beijing and the coronavirus pandemic. China has also stepped up its espionage efforts in recent years, forcing the FBI to open a new China-related counterintelligence investigation every 10 hours, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed last week.
Some national security experts have said China is waging a "cold war" against the U.S. — but Yoho said nothing will be "cold" about an impending Chinese attack.
In fact, the Florida Republican predicted armed conflict will be triggered by a Chinese naval attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which often commands a strong presence in the South China Sea.
"Knowing China, I think what they would do is ram one of our ships and say it was a mistake," Yoho told the Examiner.
"To sink a carrier would be a huge mistake, to attack any of our ships would be a huge mistake, but I think they're willing to risk that to test the waters," he explained. "And unfortunately, people will die. It would just be a mistake if they did that, for them."
Last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said U.S. policy on China is based on "ill-informed strategic miscalculation" and "is fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry." The foreign ministry also said that Washington's belief that China is a threat "may turn into self-fulfilling prophecies at the end of the day."
According to Yoho, Beijing is talking tough only because the U.S. is standing up to its bully mentality.
"The United States is willing to stand up to them, and that may force China's hand," Yoho told the Examiner. "That'll be something that they will lose, and they will regret, but we can't be intimidated because that might happen. I think the real threat is, if we don't do anything, we know that it'll happen. And then, that'll give more strength to China to keep doing what they're doing. So, you know, let's just hope that diplomacy works and China backs off."