A worldwide conflict cannot be ruled out according to global politics experts keeping a close eye on US-China relations.
Zhang Yansheng, former secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission’s academic committee, gave a stark warning at an annual debate hosted by South China Morning Post.
He said: “A key issue for 2018 is whether we can avoid international conflicts and confrontation, and the relationship between China and the US will largely decide if the world can move past the current globalisation interlude.”
Mr Zhang was speaking on a panel examining the relationship between China and the US.
Others backed the statement, saying a nuclear fall out of catastrophic proportions could begin over a trade dispute as President Trump and President Xi Jinping tussle for power and status.
Daniel Russell, former US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Asia said: “The warning signs that point toward some sort of tough trade actions by the Trump administration towards China are unmistakable.
“Everybody loses by taking that step. When you factor in the prospect of retaliation, the situation gets a lot worse.”
In recent months China’s red army has been beefed up and marched around, as leaders remain intent on flexing their military muscle.
Epic war drills were held recently as Beijing ordered the test firing of missiles and war prep at 4,000 army bases.
The unprecedented war drills are taking place as experts suggest there is a possibility of WW3 breaking out.
It is unclear who the displays of military might are supposed to intimidate as the US as fears grow over China protecting North Korea.
The Chinese government has claimed a ground invasion by the US would put China on North Korea’s side, unless it was in response to a direct attack.***
US President Donald Trump has urged his counterpart in Beijing to do more than issue tough economic sanctions, which are strangling North Korea supply routes, but are ineffective on leader Kim Jong-un.
Kim has tested more nukes during his near seven-year-reign than his dad and grandfather managed in 63 years.