CIA boss William Burns is certain that China will attack Taiwan, but the only question is when. The rhetoric is getting rougher between Beijing and Washington. If a new war actually breaks out, the consequences would be much more fatal for the world than with Putin’s Ukraine war.

The war in eastern Ukraine is entering its sixth month, when a new military conflict is already threatening in eastern China. The Taiwan question escalates into a major conflict between the great powers USA and China.

The consequences could be even more devastating for the world than the war in Ukraine.

The mere speculation about a possible visit to Taiwan by the chairperson of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has alarmed Beijing’s government.

A military spokesman responded with maximum rhetoric. The Chinese air force will “defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

According to the Chinese media, what was meant was that, if necessary, China’s air force would push the US plane with the politician on board away. Pelosi holds the third highest office in the United States.

It would be the first direct military confrontation between the US and China.

Taiwan’s drive for independence is a red rag for China’s government, and according to experts, a military conquest of the island is realistic.

CIA boss William Burns is certain that China will attack Taiwan.

The only open question is “how and when they will do it,” he said at a conference in Aspen in mid-July.

President Xi Jinping apparently wants to show strength ahead of the CP party congress in the fall.

After a phone call with US President Joe Biden, he announced:

“Those who play with fire will perish.”

The West should take the threat seriously, yet react differently than in the case of Ukraine should Chinese aggression in the Pacific occur.

I would like to name five reasons:

Taiwan is a lovely democracy, but not a recognized member of the international community.

Only 18 countries worldwide have recognized Taiwan and maintain diplomatic relations, including Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua or Palau.

EU members or G7 countries are not included.

The West is not obliged to join.

The truth is: The West gave up the Republic of China, as Taiwan is officially called, as a separate and independent state 50 years ago.

When in 1971 the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger first traveled to Beijing in a secret operation and a year later President Richard Nixon officially opened talks with the Mao regime, China’s isolation ended (“Only Nixon could go to China”).

Part of the deal: Taiwan loses its place in the international community and its privileged relationship with the West.

Beijing did not sign the desired guarantee for a peaceful solution in the Taiwan conflict.

For the communist regime, the island to which the defeated Chinese fled after the civil war is the territorial core of its One China policy.

Ukraine may have a realistic military chance of repelling Russia’s army in need of rehabilitation with heavy weapons from the west.

Little Taiwan doesn’t have this option against the superpower China if the USA doesn’t want to intervene as a nuclear power and in full military gear.

China is the most dynamic and second-largest economy in the world and is existential for Germany as a business partner.

A gigantic West-East shift is underway: 20 years ago, the G7 countries accounted for half of global economic output, today it is only 30 percent.

At the same time, China’s share of world GDP rose to 18 percent, and the Middle Kingdom is already accounting for around 30 percent of global growth.

Economic sanctions from the West as a result of possible aggression in Taiwan would be an economic fiasco – especially for Germany.

In 2021, China was Germany’s largest trading partner for the sixth time in a row, with a volume of 245 billion euros. In 1980, China was still in 35th place.

For comparison: the neighboring European country Russia only made it to 14th place in the trade ranking.

At almost 104 billion euros, German exports to China alone are three times as high as those to Russia.

More importantly, 60 percent of imports from Russia consist of oil and gas, which Germany wants to replace, at least in the medium term.

Trade with China is broader, technologically high-quality and, above all, existential for a country undergoing digital and ecological transformation.

5000 companies from Germany are active in China and hundreds are added every year.

The dependency of the car industry is well known: VW alone sells 40 percent of its cars to the Middle Kingdom.

But China also produces more than 60 percent of the rare earths that are essential for high-tech products such as smartphones, LEDs, rockets, and for electric motors or wind turbines.

The iPhone and most of the microchips used around the world come from Chinese factories. Just like two thirds of all lithium ion batteries used worldwide.

If Robert Habeck wants to master his energy transition, he doesn’t have to ask the opposition, but Beijing for help.

In a survey by the Ifo Institute, every second company in the manufacturing sector stated that they were absolutely dependent on advance payments from China.

China’s President Xi Jinping is not wrong when he says that Germany and China are “economically indispensable for each other”.

After an interim phase as a copy-and-paste people’s republic, the workbench of the world has become a technology outfitter.

If data is the new oil, China is the new Saudi Arabia.

According to experts, the country could overtake the USA in sales of artificial intelligence as early as 2025. The conditions for this are ideal for the tech companies, because the country collects data from its citizens under government coercion.

Because companies like Sense Time gain access to the government’s database of more than 700 million passport photos, China is now a leader in automatic facial recognition.

The three IT giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, as well as the speech recognition specialist iFlytek, have been appointed AI partners by the Chinese Ministry of Technology and are basically allowed to use any information that China’s regime collects from its citizens.

Alibaba wants to become the market leader in the networking of intelligent cities, while Baidu wants to supply the autonomous vehicles. And the Far East Facebook Tencent, with more than 1 billion users, is already a leader in medical imaging.

The metaverse has long been under construction in China.

David Shambaugh, a professor at George Washington University and one of the most important China experts in America, soberly sums up the country’s importance for the rest of the world: “China’s development is the most important issue in world politics. “

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is working on a new China strategy. He wants to set himself apart from his predecessor Angela Merkel, who visited China 12 times and had the country surveyed in realpolitik. Her mission statement was that Europe had to measure itself against China if it wanted to survive.

Scholz takes a more distanced look at the relationships. In April, Scholz made his first trip to Asia to Japan.

Even before the G20 summit in mid-November in Bali the German head of government wants to visit some democratic Asian countries according to internal speculation, initiate new trade agreements and only travel to Beijing later.

A separate raw materials policy should also be part of the new China concept.

Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is in the spirit of Scholz’s sister in the strategy of gently breaking the cord from the giants in the Far East.

Such a policy is morally understandable given the ongoing human rights violations by the communist regime.

But is it also reasonable to persevere and conducive to prosperity in Germany? doubts are warranted.

Or to paraphrase the Chinese philosopher Confucius : “Demand a lot from yourself and expect little from others. This will save you from trouble. “