US must now prepare for Chinese invasion of Taiwan: Admiral

US must now prepare for Chinese invasion of Taiwan: Admiral


The US military must be ready to respond to a possible invasion of Taiwan later this year, a senior admiral said Wednesday, signaling heightened concerns about Beijing’s intentions towards the island.

Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of US naval operations, is the latest senior Washington official to raise concerns that China’s President Xi Jinping may be much more ready to seize Taiwan than previously thought.

His comments came as Taiwan’s top security official warned that any attempt to invade the island would fail, leaving China an international pariah.

Xi is on the verge of securing a third five-year term at the helm of the world’s most populous nation and delivered a landmark speech at the Communist Party congress on Sunday, reaffirming his vow to one day “reunite” Taiwan or take it by force.

In a discussion with a think tank, Gilday was asked about Xi’s speech and whether he agreed with another US admiral’s comments that Beijing was ready to take Taiwan by 2027.

“It’s not just about what President Xi says, it’s about how the Chinese behave and what they do,” Gilday told the Atlantic Council.

“And what we’ve seen over the last 20 years is that every promise they made they fulfilled sooner than they said they would deliver.”

“So in my mind, if we’re talking about the 2027 window, that has to be a 2022 window, or possibly a 2023 window,” he added.

“I can’t rule that out. I don’t mean to be alarmist by any means.

– ‘No chance’ –

China’s Communist Party has never controlled Taiwan, but it claims the self-governing island as its own.

Taiwan is not a treaty ally of the United States, but Congress is required by law to sell Taipei defense weapons and there is bipartisan support for protecting what has become an advanced democracy and a vital global trading partner.

Beijing’s stance has long been that it seeks “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but reserves the right to use force if necessary, particularly if the island officially declares independence.

Rhetoric and actions towards Taiwan have become more outspoken under Xi, China’s most assertive leader in a generation, and the military has increased purchases of equipment to pull off an invasion.

Xi has linked taking Taiwan to his vision of “the great revitalization of the Chinese nation,” saying the goal of reunification cannot be passed on from generation to generation indefinitely.

Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, which China has not condemned, has also sparked fears that Beijing could take similar moves against Taiwan’s 23 million people.

Military analysts have long warned that invading Taiwan is a difficult task given its location and terrain, even with numerical strength.

Taiwan’s national security chief Chen Ming-tong echoed this sentiment and issued his own warning to Xi.

“I solemnly say to the Beijing authorities that there is no chance of attacking Taiwan by force,” he told reporters in Taipei on Thursday.

“It would lead to international economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, ruining his (Xi) ‘great revitalization of the Chinese nation’ and making him a sinner of the Chinese nation.”

On Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that Beijing wants to take Taiwan “in a much quicker timeframe” than previously thought, adding that “a very different China” has emerged under Xi.

Blinken also warned that any war over Taiwan would have a “huge” impact on world trade.

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