China and Taiwan blamed each other Friday for a dangerous escalation in tensions, underscoring the hostility between the arch foes and analysts' fears that the two might be heading for war.
Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu characterized relations with China as a state of quasi-war, saying Beijing was waging a diplomatic and economic battle against the island.
In Hong Kong, a top Chinese official on Taiwan affairs described the situation as on "the verge of danger." ...
On the same day [as Lu's statement -- EBB], Vice Minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Wang Zaixi, said Beijing would resolutely stop any move toward Taiwan independence.
"Taiwan independence and splitting (from China) has become a real threat. The relationship between the two sides of the Strait has reached the verge of danger," Wang said during a visit to Hong Kong.
"Developments show that the forces supporting Taiwan independence and splittism
are using different means in a planned and intentional way to achieve the aim of Taiwan independence," he added.
China's People's Liberation Army has been staging mock invasion exercises and many analysts see the Taiwan Strait as the most dangerous flash point in Asia.
Beijing also uses its political and economic power to prevent the island from joining international organizations that involves sovereign states, and insists that Taiwan participates in the Olympic Games under the title "Chinese Taipei." ...
Friends here have said for months China will wait until after the 2008 Olympics to attack Taiwan. But I can't see why. China's biggest obstacle to attack ing is losing foreign investment, on which they rely tremendously, for being seen as a red bully. But China may just be banking on the fact that, to many people outside Asia, Taiwan has little if any significance. If China plays its military and diplomatic cards right, it may come off smelling no worse than it already does. Taiwan's reabsorption into China may well be a peculiar "glitch in the matrix," a passing bubble on the surface of bigger global waters. And when the bubble bursts, and the ripples pass away, most, or at least much, of that foreign money will very likely still be in China's hands.
What the Olympics, four years hence, have to do with this is beyond me. Obviously, China could stand to gain a lot many iof they play nice nice as Olympoic hoists. But there is a very real chance they could lose money on the Olympic deal, regardless whether they tolerate Taiwan or attack her.
So, what's my prediction on an invasion? 40/60 it will happen before the 2008 Olympics. 20/80 it will happen this next year while I'm here. 100% odds it will happen, someday. Stay tuned.