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China hawk says Beijing to ‘bring war to the west,’ take Taiwan


A man takes picture at the harbour where Taiwanese Navy warships are anchored on August 07, 2022 in Keelung, Taiwan.

Annabelle Chih | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Prominent China hawk Kyle Bass told CNBC on Tuesday that he believes Chinese President Xi Jinping is determined to “bring war to the West,” with an invasion of Taiwan likely before the end of 2024.

Bass, who is founder and chief investment officer at U.S. investment firm Hayman Capital Management, said that the West — and particularly Wall Street — is too preoccupied by the apparent economic unviability of such an attack.

But, much like Russian President Vladimir Putin — whose war in Ukraine has isolated his country from the West — Xi is not solely concerned with the potential economic fallout, Bass said.

“If you listen to what [Xi] says, I believe he will end up acquiring, reacquiring Taiwan by force by the end of next year,” Bass told “Street Signs.”

“We on Wall Street love to think he would never do that because it doesn’t make economic sense. We have to stop thinking that way and literally start listening to what the man says,” he said.

The Chinese Communist Party did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Bass’ statements. However, it has previously said that the issue with Taiwan is an internal affair.

China’s president, when confirming his third term this March, cited the need to “promote peaceful development of cross-strait relations” with Taiwan, but stressed that his country should oppose “external forces” and pro-independence movements.

Xi Jinping is focused on the reacquisition. You can hear it in all of his speeches since 2017.

Kyle Bass

founder and chief investment officer, Hayman Capital Management

Taiwan has been governed independently of China since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing views the island as part of its territory.

The dispute over Taiwan is a global flashpoint, with most in the West considering it a self-governing nation. Beijing, meanwhile, has called for “reunification” with Taiwan, last year describing its status in a white paper as an “unalterable” part of China.

China’s foreign ministry also said in April that Taiwan was an issue of Chinese “sovereignty and security” and warned against foreign interference.

China hawk Kyle Bass says President Xi is 'not economically focused'

Bass said Xi is now “focused on the reacquisition” of Taiwan.

“You can hear it in all of his speeches since 2017,” Bass added, referring to the year in which Xi consolidated his power with a second term in office and famously heralded the start of “a new era.”

“Xi Jinping is not economically focused. Economics are kind of a means to his end, very much like Putin,” Bass said, adding that if Putin cared about economics, Russia never would have invaded Ukraine.

As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s contributions to — and implications within — international relations and global markets are widely recognized as far exceeding those of Russia, prompting heightened caution around the sensitive Taiwan issue.

‘So many signals’

Bass said that the signals of a forthcoming conflict between China and Taiwan were threefold.

Firstly, China has been ratcheting up its military drills around Taiwan. According to Bass, who said he had consulted military experts, Beijing is close to completing its military exercises. CNBC could not independently verify this assertion.

China has said its drills were in response to repeated meetings between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and several U.S. representatives — a red line for Beijing. Meanwhile Taiwan, for its part, has also been ramping up its own military exercises.

Everything you’d expect them to be doing, they’re actually doing.

Kyle Bass

founder and chief investment officer, Hayman Capital Management

Secondly, Bass said Beijing has been making sweeping mainland changes in “preparation for a potential war.” He cited a new counter espionage law, which came into effect last month and expands the government’s power to punish apparent threats to national security.

Lastly, Bass said China has been “running marine diesel refining at full tilt” despite a slowing economy. He added that this was a signal of increased demand for marine fuel. Beijing has doubled its number of licensed bonded marine fuel dealers since 2020, Reuters has reported, though exports of the low-sulphur oil fell in 2022.

“There’s so many signals that all point in the same direction,” he said.

“Everything you’d expect them to be doing, they’re actually doing,” Bass continued. “Unfortunately, none of us want war, but I’m going to tell you, Xi’s going to bring war to the West.”



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