Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of US naval operations, on 19th October 2022 raised concerns that China’s President Xi Jinping may be much more eager than previously expected to take hold of Taiwan. The US military must be ready to counter a potential invasion of Taiwan.
Admiral’s statement came as Taiwan’s top security official informed any attempt to invade Taiwan would fail and turn China into an “international pariah”. On the other hand, China’s President Xi is at the point of securing a third five-year term at the helm of the world´s most populous nation, delivering a landmark Communist Party Congress speech on 16th October 2022 where he reiterated his vow to one day “reunify,” or forcefully take, Taiwan.
In a dialogue with a think tank, Admiral Michael Gilday was asked to comment on President Xi’s speech and whether he thinks that China will manage to seize Taiwan by 2027. On replying, Gilday was of the view that “It is not just what President Xi says, it is how the Chinese behave and what they do”. And what we’ve seen over the past 20 years is that they have delivered on every promise they have made earlier than they said they were going to deliver on it. So when we talk about the 2027 window in my mind, that has to be a 2022 window or potentially a 2023 window. I cannot rule that out. I don´t mean at all to be alarmist by saying that. It’s just that we can’t wish that away.”
Taiwan’s national security chief Chen Ming-tong upon considering the situation warned Xi Jinping. He said, “I want to solemnly tell the Beijing authorities that there is no chance of winning to attack Taiwan by force. It would lead to international economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, ruining his (Xi’s) ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and making him a sinner of the Chinese nation.”
Moreover, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken addressed that China’s designs to seize Taiwan “on a much faster timeline” than previously thought, adding that “a very different China” had emerged under Xi. Blinken also raised awareness regarding global trade that any instability over Taiwan would have an “enormous” impact on the trade flows.
However, Taiwan is not considered a treaty ally of US but Congress is compelled by law to sell Taipei defensive weapons and there is bipartisan support for protecting what has become a progressive democracy and vital global trade partner. China’s viewpoint is that it wants to pursue “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and also holds the right to use force if needed, especially if Taiwan formally declares independence.