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US must now prepare for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, warn admiral

The United States must be ready to respond to a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan as early as this year, a senior US admiral said on Wednesday, signaling heightened alarm over Beijing’s intentions toward the island.

Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of operations for the US Navy, is the latest senior official in Washington to point out that China, under Xi Jinping, may be far more willing than previously thought to take over Taiwan.

Xi is poised to secure a third five-year term, and on Sunday he delivered a landmark speech to the Communist Party Congress in which he reiterated his promise to one day “reunify” Taiwan, including through the use of “force.”

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

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

The admiral affirmed that in the last 20 years “they have fulfilled all the promises they made before what they said they were going to fulfill.”

“So when we talk about a 2027 window of time, that can be a window to 2022 or extraordinarily 2023,” he added. “We cannot rule it out. I do not mean to be alarmist by saying this. We can’t ignore it.”

The Chinese Communist Party has never controlled Taiwan, but claims the island is part of its territory.

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

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

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, which China has not condemned, has also raised fears that Beijing may take similar action against Taiwan’s 23 million people.

Military analysts have announced that even with a numerical force, invading Taiwan is not an easy task, given its location and geography.

Taiwan’s top security official, Chen Ming-tong, echoed this on Thursday, telling Beijing that any attempt to invade the island would fail and make China an international pariah.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Beijing wants to seize Taiwan “in a much faster time frame” than previously considered and said any war over Taiwan has a “huge” impact on trade. global

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