The threat posed by China to Taiwan until 2030 is “critical,” US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services.
“I think it’s fair to say that it’s critical, or acute,” Haines said when asked by US Senator Josh Hawley if she viewed the threat facing Taiwan to be acute from now until 2030.
“It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” she said, without elaborating.
Beijing is closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started more than two months ago, but it is unclear what lessons China might have learned since then, she said.
Whatever those lessons might be could affect China’s plan regarding Taiwan, but Russia’s invasion had not accelerated Beijing’s timeline, Haines said, citing US intelligence assessments.
US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Scott Berrier said he was “not seeing anything that would tell me that they’re [China] thinking about trying to take advantage of this time.”
Photo courtesy of US 7th Fleet
“We’re not really sure what lessons [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平) is taking away from this conflict right now,” Berrier said. “We would hope that they would be the right ones.”
Hopefully, Xi would realize that an invasion of Taiwan would be difficult, dangerous and risky, Berrier added later.
Berrier and Haines said that China would rather pursue its unification goal through peaceful means than resorting to force, but Taiwan still needs to be prepared to defend itself militarily.
The US should engage with Taiwan’s military and leadership “to help them understand what this conflict has been about, what lessons they can learn,” Berrier said, referring to Ukraine’s resistance against Russian attacks.
The US should also help Taiwan grasp “where they should be focusing their dollars on defense and their training,” he said.
In related news, a US Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday to show Washington’s “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific” region, the US Pacific Command’s 7th Fleet said in a statement.
The vessel, identified as the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73), made the transit as part of a “routine operation and was done in accordance with international laws,” the fleet said.
The 7th Fleet said that the ship transited through a corridor in the Taiwan Strait that is “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state.”
“Port Royal’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific” region, it said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.”
The Ministry of National Defense later confirmed the transit, saying in a statement that the military was on top of the situation as the US warship sailed south through the Taiwan Strait and it did not see any irregularities.
On the same day of the transit, a Chinese attack helicopter briefly crossed the median line of the waterway, the ministry said.
The WZ-10 helicopter crossed the median line in a southern part of the Taiwan Strait on a mission with two KA-28 anti-submarine helicopters, it said.
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
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China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance