Former Asst. State Sec. Charles warns China may seize territories while Biden still president
"We know that, as a general matter, weakness invites aggression. But we also know that in this exact moment, today, we have probably six or eight potential conflicts that are just at simmer and haven't come to boil yet," he said.
Former Assistant Secretary of State Bobby Charles on Monday suggested that Chinese President Xi Jinping perceives President Joe Biden as a weak leader and may look to seize contested territories while Biden remains in charge.
"I think he bottom line is they know that he'll be reading cue cards that say 'we object to this and this and this,'" Charles said on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "And Xi won't give a darn, frankly." Biden and Xi are slated to meet in California on Wednesday amid the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held in San Francisco.
"So, you know, my only real concern is that, and I hope there are other people in the room, because I think Xi will telegraph in ways that are subtle – this often happens in diplomacy –what his intentions may be with respect to his part of the world," he said of the planned meeting. "We know that, as a general matter, weakness invites aggression. But we also know that in this exact moment, today, we have probably six or eight potential conflicts that are just at simmer and haven't come to boil yet."
"I think what it's really doing is showing that without strength or peace through strength, diplomacy is impotent," he continued. "It has nothing to offer. And I think if anything ... diplomacy can become an excuse for justifying further aggressive actions, particularly if in this discussion, there are no real ... hard points."
"We watched Blinken go over there and beg on bent knee for Xi to just accept the idea of a hot phone, which Xi rejected," Charles continued. "I just wonder what's going to come out of this, as you rightly say, it could well invite more aggression, because what could come out is Xi comes back and says, 'Boy, I thought that guy was bad, but boy, he's worse than bad. I think we got our opportunity here, the next 13 months are our chance to put the pedal to the metal, maybe take the [South China Sea] islands, maybe take a piece of Taiwanese out[lying] islands, maybe take a piece of, you know, disputed territories among allies of the United States and just see what they do.'"
"We're looking at two fronts already," he added in reference to American involvement in Ukraine and Israel. "Our strategic doctrine says you should be able to aggressively advance on one front and hold a second front. It does not say that we should be ready for three fronts. But we may have to be."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.