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Good morning. The head of the US Navy has warned that the American military must be prepared for the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan before 2024, as Washington grows increasingly alarmed about the threat to the island.
Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said the US had to consider that China could take action against Taiwan much sooner than even the more pessimistic warnings.
The debate in the US about when China might invade Taiwan has intensified since Admiral Philip Davidson, then-head of Indo-Pacific Command, told Congress last year that the Chinese military could take action against Taiwan before 2027. Davidson’s warning was partly played down at the time, but officials have intensified their warnings over the past year.
“When we talk about the 2027 window, in my mind that has to be a 2022 window or potentially a 2023 window,” Gilday told the Atlantic Council on Wednesday. “I don’t mean at all to be alarmist . . . it’s just that we can’t wish that away.”
Thank you for reading FirstFT Asia. Do you think China will invade Taiwan before 2024? Why or why not? Tell me what you think at [email protected].— Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. Succession battle begins after Truss quits UK premiership Rishi Sunak, former chancellor, has emerged as the early favourite to become Britain’s next prime minister, after Liz Truss terminated a 44-day premiership marked by economic and political turmoil. Here’s how the leadership contest will work. Bookmark this link to follow the latest developments.
2. Yen falls to lowest level against dollar since 1990 The yen yesterday slipped past ¥150 against the dollar for the first time in more than three decades as investors remained on alert for another intervention by Japanese authorities to prop up the currency. Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell to its lowest level since the financial crisis after the city’s new leader stopped short of scrapping restrictions.
3. Russian jet ‘released’ missile near UK spy plane over Black Sea A Russian fighter plane released a missile near an unarmed British spy plane patrolling international air space over the Black Sea on September 29, UK defence minister Ben Wallace said, in an incident that Russia later blamed on a “technical malfunction”.
4. Germany divided over sale of port terminal stake to China’s Cosco A row has broken out in the German government over whether to let Cosco, the Chinese shipping conglomerate, take a stake in a Hamburg container terminal, with chancellor Olaf Scholz in favour and several ministries opposed on security grounds.
5. Tencent steps up buybacks as share price sinks Chinese social media and gaming group Tencent has increased share repurchases to spend more than $3bn this year as the company’s stock price plumbs four-year lows.
Have you kept up with the news this week? Take our quiz.
The days ahead
Inflation data Both Hong Kong and Japan will report their September consumer price index inflation rate data today.
Steve Bannon sentencing Donald Trump’s former political adviser Steve Bannon is due to be sentenced for contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a subpoena issued by the committee investigating the attack.
End of the China’s 20th party congress The week-long congress is scheduled to end on Saturday with a likely third five-year term for Xi Jinping. Corporate China has largely been shut out of Xi’s party congress compared with years past.
Women’s World Cup group stage draw New Zealand will hold a draw to on Saturday decide the group stage matches for the ninth Women’s World Cup, which will begin in July 2023 at venues in Australia and New Zealand.
What else we’re reading
Renault and Nissan close in on deal to save partnership The two carmakers are close to a deal to save their dysfunctional alliance, which rescued the Japanese carmaker from near-bankruptcy 20 years ago and was meant to be a model for how rivals worked together. The deal being discussed would reduce Renault’s outsized voting rights, according to six people with knowledge of the details.
Biden goes it alone in his trade assault on China Joe Biden’s move to impose semiconductor export controls is risky, and not just for obvious reasons such as direct Chinese retaliation. A more fundamental hazard is that the US, acting largely without allies, is stoking a major trade and tech conflict it might not always win, writes Alan Beattie.
India’s rice farmers on front line of water crisis In the 1960s, India’s “green revolution” heralded a surge in the production of staple crops, which helped prevent the famines that had previously blighted the country. But the intensification of farming has led India to become among the most water-stressed countries in the world.
In praise of the long and luxurious sleep The irritating “smug sleeper” seems to be able to survive — thrive, even — on precious little sleep. But “nine-hours-a-night” Jemima Kelly writes that scientific evidence suggests she is wise to value her shut-eye.
Is DeSantis a Trump without the drama? Florida governor Ron DeSantis opted for a restrictions-light response to the Covid-19 pandemic that made him a conservative hero. Since then, he has harnessed a combination of intellect and calculated hostility to outsiders, elites and the media to become the potential standard bearer of the US’s populist movement.
Explore Arashiyama, one of Kyoto’s top tourist destinations, with our new FT Globetrotter guide. Arashiyama is well worth exploring for its lovely walks dotted with historic temples and gardens, as well as one of Japan’s most famous and iconic bridges. It also happens to be a mecca of Japanese classical literature.
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