Rising Tensions Between China and the U.S.—Who Will Dominate?
China is preparing for war. On March 7, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned that Beijing and Washington are headed for “conflict and confrontation” if the United States doesn’t change course.
To back up this rhetoric, China is ramping up its military budget, which will increase by 7.2 percent this year, the highest increase in four years. Former Premier Li Keqiang told the National People’s Congress that the People’s Liberation Army (pla) “should work to carry out military operations, boost combat preparedness, and enhance military capabilities.”
One way China intends to strengthen its position is by building an enormous nuclear arsenal. Russia and the U.S. have far greater nuclear arsenals, but China is rapidly catching up. Earlier this year, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command warned Congress that China now has more land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (icbm) launchers than the United States, which is indicative of its aim to overtake America in other nuclear areas.
Even in space, China is steadily working to surpass the U.S. Last year, China completed its own fully operational space station after the U.S. banned its access to the International Space Station. China has also stepped up military activities in space that challenge U.S. superiority. “Counterspace operations will be integral to potential pla military campaigns, and China has counterspace weapons capabilities intended to target U.S. and allied satellites,” the 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community said. China already has counterspace weapons such as electronic warfare systems, directed energy weapons and antisatellite missiles. These ground-based weapons could be used to disrupt or destroy satellites that the U.S. military depends on heavily.
In the Russia-Ukraine War, China also poses a potential threat. Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed a “no-limits” partnership just before the war, which triggered great anxiety in the West. nato is increasingly concerned that China will provide Russia with lethal aid for the Ukraine War.
Is the U.S. doing enough to counter the threats coming from China?
On March 9, the Biden administration proposed one of the nation’s largest peacetime defense budgets for the Pentagon: $835 billion, up from $816 billion last year. Although the Russia-Ukraine War has garnered considerable attention, many analysts believe the U.S. should be more worried about protecting itself from China’s immediate threats. The Pentagon’s request “reflects a budget that is still focused primarily on developing weapons for future wars rather than procuring weapons for near-term wars,” according to former Office of Management and Budget defense analyst Mark Cancian.
That might seem promising, but the U.S. has often shown itself to be the weaker nation in confrontations with China.
This was especially clear when the U.S. military allowed a Chinese spy balloon to float over thousands of miles of U.S. heartland for more than six days. Between February 2 and 8, the Biden regime proved to be too weak-willed to use its power to shoot down the potentially dangerous balloon. If China can fly a surveillance balloon over the country for that long, what else will it get away with?
China has also proved to be the more belligerent power in the South China Sea. China continually antagonizes U.S. Air Force pilots patrolling the international airspace over the sea. Last month, a Chinese fighter pilot warned an American fighter pilot to “keep a safe distance or you will be intercepted.” A video published by Wall Street Journal in December showed a Chinese fighter jet flying as close as 20 feet from an American plane. Such confrontations have become more aggressive as China has gained control over many sections of the South China Sea.
This control has been established in large part by China’s campaign of building artificial islands in the region and militarizing them with antiship and antiaircraft missile systems in efforts to control the hotly disputed waters. In his 2016 article “China Is Steering the World Toward War,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:
Now that U.S. military presence in the area has been drastically reduced, China is claiming the entire South China Sea as its own!
By building artificial islands atop coral reefs in the Spratlys, and installing surface-to-air missile batteries in the Paracels, China is building a new strategic sea gate.
This sea passage is vitally important because it is not only resource rich but some $5.3 trillion worth of trade passes through it every day, which accounts for about one third of all global maritime trade.
In Taiwan, another point of friction between the two powers, China is also determined to become the stronger nation. Ever since Communist forces won the Chinese civil war in 1949, China has claimed Taiwan as its own. Xi often calls for “reunification” and says China is willing to use military force to make this a reality. For years, China has intimidated the island by violating Taiwanese waters and airspace. In the past few weeks, China has sent 25 warplanes and three warships toward the island. The U.S. softly responded by deploying an additional 100 to 200 troops to the island to train Taiwanese forces for a potential Chinese offensive.
Last August, tensions escalated further after then U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. China responded with a show of force, performing military exercises around Taiwan, launching ballistic missiles over the island, sending warships across the Taiwan Strait, and bombarding Taiwanese government websites with an unprecedented number of cyberattacks.
Taiwan is a point of interest partly because of its global dominance in the semiconductor industry. U.S. companies like Apple and Nvidia are largely dependent on Taiwan’s production of semiconductors, which are found in thousands of products like computers, smartphones, medical equipment and military hardware. If China gains control over Taiwan, it could potentially use the semiconductor industry to increase its economic hold over the U.S.
China’s increasing belligerence and America’s weakening will to counter it will soon develop into an era defined in Bible prophecy.
During His ministry, Jesus Christ spoke of “the times of the Gentiles,” an era in which powerful Gentile nations will dominate. “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). This prophecy is yet to be fully realized, but the rise of Gentile nations is becoming increasingly evident.
The Gentiles are people who didn’t descend from the 12 tribes of ancient Israel. In end-time prophecy, “Israel” refers mainly to modern-day America and Britain. (For a full explanation, order a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)
In his article “What Are the Times of the Gentiles?”, Mr. Flurry wrote:
Once you understand who Israel is, then you can understand how the Gentiles—the non-Israelite peoples—have started to take charge of the world right now. …
China’s actions prove that Gentiles are rising to power before our eyes! And this is just one of many Gentile nations growing more aggressive on the world scene.
A big reason Gentile nations are rising today is because the modern-day descendants of Israel have become weak and apathetic. In Leviticus 26, God prophesied what would happen to Israel: “And I will break the pride of your power …” (verse 19). While the U.S. possesses more military power than China, the will to use it is disappearing. “Recognizing that weakness, China is asserting its power,” explained Mr. Flurry. “America’s broken will is motivating these actions.”
The global power shifting away from “Israel” toward these other nations signals a terrifying future. Christ said it will be a time of “[m]en’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26). However, Christ also delivered spectacularly good news to occur right after the times of the Gentiles: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (verse 27). The fulfillment of these prophecies will eventually lead to a time of great joy and happiness: Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.