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.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks