Xi Jinping’s Vast Gold War Chest Could Let Him Take Taiwan Without A Fight

Xi Jinping has benefited in many ways from Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, not least in his single most important personal goal: to go down in history as the Chinese leader who annexed Taiwan in defiance of the West. 

Xi has seen what Western sanctions on a brutal aggressor amount to. He has spent the last two years sanction-proofing the Chinese economy by all means possible, doubling down on transactional relationships with his cronies in the so-called ‘Global South’, securing massive supplies of oil and gas and – most recently – buying up gold on a scale that is astonishing even by Chinese standards.

How should the West understand his tactical purposes in all of this, and more importantly, what is the strategic context?

First, let’s consider the gold. In the last 17 months alone, China’s declared gold reserves have soared by 17pc to nearly 73 million troy ounces, currently worth $170bn (£135bn). There are other indications of additional large-scale purchases off-grid as well. Concurrently, China’s foreign exchange reserves have been built up to their highest level since 2015.

All in all this looks like a war chest, intended to be proof against harsh Western sanctions which, following the Ukraine model, would likely follow a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

The time has long gone – however fashionable it was once in some Western circles – to claim that Xi would never make the mistake of invading Taiwan. The idea was that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would struggle to achieve a victory; that it would cost too much blood and treasure for the fragile regime to survive, even if escalation into regional or global conflict did not result.

Read more here from The Telegraph.