America’s top general dismissed warnings of an impending Chinese invasion of Taiwan, insisting that the People’s Liberation Army was not yet able to annex the island.
“I think China has a long way to go in developing the real, no-joke ability to conduct military operations to take over, by military means, the entire island of Taiwan, if they wanted to. do, “said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate appropriations committee audience.
Milley added that he believed China had little intention of taking Taiwan by force. “There is no reason to do it militarily, and they know it. So I think the probability is probably low, in the immediate, short term. “
His assessment contrasts with the warning issued in March by Admiral Philip Davidson, then commander of US forces in the Pacific, who told lawmakers during a hearing that China could attack Taiwan over the next six years. Davidson’s successor Admiral John Aquilino said a Chinese attack on Taiwan could be launched “much closer to home than most realize.”
A senior US government official also told the Financial Times There were concerns that President Xi Jinping viewed Taiwan’s unification progress with China as important to his quest for a third term.
Over the past year, the Chinese military has greatly increased the pressure on Taipei, such as the theft of planes in Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone.
Since Taiwan first announced the incursions in September last year, the People’s Liberation Army air force planes have entered the buffer zone 20 days a month on average. The participation of fighters and bombers in these flights has steadily increased, peaking at 44 fighters in April.
After a lull at the start of the month, China flew 28 military planes to Taiwan on Tuesday, the biggest day trip. The mission was seen as a reaction to G7 and NATO statements berating China and the arrival of a US aircraft carrier that had sailed into the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Some experts believe that China’s rapid military modernization gave the PLA confidence that it could successfully stage an amphibious invasion of Taiwan.
“The Chinese military counterparts I have spoken with tell me they can make the disembarkation, that they are confident,” Oriana Skylar Mastro, Chinese expert at Stanford University, said on a podcast this week. .
But other analysts disagree. “The PLA currently lacks the amphibious elevator, logistics and equipment necessary for a robust invasion across the strait and shows no urgency to achieve it,” Andrew Erickson, professor at the US Naval War wrote on Monday. Middle School.