China’s President Xi Jinping has instructed his country’s military to be ready or Taiwan invasion by 2027, according to U.S. intelligence reports. CIA Director William Burns revealed the news in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. While Burns emphasized that it is not clear if President Xi has decided to invade Taiwan in 2027 or any other year, the U.S. must take Xi’s desire to control Taiwan seriously.
“I think our judgment at least is that President Xi and his military leadership have doubts today about whether they could accomplish that invasion,” Burns said. He added that the support from the U.S. and European allies for Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of that country may be acting as a potential deterrent to Chinese officials for now but said the risks of a possible attack on Taiwan will only grow stronger.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland. Taiwan acts like a sovereign nation yet is not recognized by the United Nations or any major country. In response, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, creating a benchmark for a continuing relationship.
The U.S. has displayed numerous shows of support for Taiwan, with President Joe Biden saying that American forces would defend Taiwan if China tries to invade. The White House says U.S. policy has not changed in making clear that Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully, but it is silent as to whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack.
Despite the U.S. and European allies’ support for Ukraine, Putin’s invasion may be causing China’s President Xi to doubt the ability of his military to invade Taiwan. Burns says that the risks of a possible attack on Taiwan will only grow stronger the further into this decade and beyond. The U.S. must take President Xi’s desire to control Taiwan seriously, and it is important to watch the situation closely.
To prepare for a potential invasion, China has been increasing military drills near Taiwan. In January, China’s military conducted exercises near Taiwan, with its air force entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. The drills were the largest military exercise by China near Taiwan since Biden took office.
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, has stated that Taiwan is ready to defend itself from China, but he hopes to continue discussions with China to resolve the issue peacefully. Taiwan has also sought to strengthen its military ties with other countries, including the U.S.
In response to China’s increased military drills, the U.S. has sent warships through the Taiwan Strait. In February, the U.S. Navy conducted a transit through the Taiwan Strait, the first such operation under the Biden administration. The U.S. has also continued to sell weapons to Taiwan, with the Biden administration approving a $280 million arms sale to Taiwan in September 2021.
The situation between Taiwan and China remains tense adding Taiwan invasion likely, with the potential for military conflict looming. It is important for the U.S. and its allies to continue to support Taiwan and to closely monitor the situation to prevent a conflict from escalating. The U.S. must also be prepared to defend Taiwan if necessary while seeking a peaceful resolution to the issue.