China will be able to launch a full-scale invasion of Taiwan by 2025, according to Chiu Kuo-cheng, the island’s defence minister, who described the present tensions as the worst in 40 years.
Chiu told the China Times on Wednesday that China was competent now, but that in three years it will be fully equipped to launch an invasion.
“By 2025, China will have reduced cost and attrition to their lowest levels. It has the capability now, but it will not be easy to launch a conflict since it must consider many other factors,” he added.
In a historic increase of its grey zone military operations directed against Taiwan, Beijing flew approximately 150 airplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone over four days beginning on Friday, the same day China observed a significant national holiday.
Beijing claims Taiwan as a Chinese province and has threatened to reclaim it by force if necessary, accusing Taiwan’s democratically elected government of separatism.
Taiwan’s leadership claims that it is already an independent nation and that no declaration of independence is required. Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, said on Tuesday that his country would not be “adventurists,” but would do “everything it takes” to defend itself.
While there is rising concern that China would strike against Taiwan, experts and government officials disagree on the timing and form of any action.
Chiu made his remarks while Taiwan’s legislature debated a T$240 billion ($8.6 billion) special defense budget measure. Anti-ship weaponry, including as land-based missile systems, would receive around two-thirds of the funding, including a T$148.9 billion plan to mass-produce domestic missiles and “high-performance” ships.
He told a parliamentary committee that the situation was “the most severe” in the more than 40 years since he entered the military, and that a “misfire” over the delicate Taiwan Strait was a possibility.
“The urgency is right in front of me as a military man,” he added.
The defence ministry cited China’s growing military investment, notably on modern fighters and amphibious combat ships, as well as increased Chinese air and marine operations near Taiwan, in a prelude to the plan.
“Military threats and provocation are at an all-time high,” it warned, adding that any conflict would likely develop quickly.
Because Taiwan’s military is greatly outmanned by China’s, it has concentrated on creating an asymmetric, or “porcupine,” defense system to dissuade or repel a land invasion. It has also sought for intelligence and logistical assistance from other countries, such as Australia, Japan, and the United States, which supplies Taiwan weaponry.
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden announced that he had talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the two had agreed to uphold the Taiwan accord.
“I had a conversation with Xi regarding Taiwan. He responded, “We agree… we’ll abide by the Taiwan deal.” “We made it plain that I don’t believe he should do anything other than follow the agreement,” she says.
Biden didn’t specify which deal he was talking to. The Three Joint Communiques, the Six Assurances, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which make clear that the US decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing rather than Taiwan is based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined through peaceful means, are all part of Washington’s longstanding “one-China policy.”
It was unclear if Biden was “commenting on longstanding US policy toward Taiwan or an earlier separate meeting with Xi,” according to Jessica Drun, a non-resident fellow at think tank Project 2049.
Drun said she wouldn’t call it an agreement if it was the “one-China policy.”
“From what I’ve heard, it’s common practice in dealings with Chinese counterparts for each side to express its own point of view. For Washington, this means reaffirming its “One China” policy—which is distinct from Beijing’s “One China” Principle in that it is its own policy, developed separately.
Beijing regularly asserts that foreign nations are bound by its own “one-China concept,” which recognizes Taiwan as a Chinese province.
Various other countries have their own “one China” policies, which specify the amount of respect Beijing’s policy receives from their governments. For example, the United States and Australia acknowledge but do not recognize Beijing’s claim to Taiwan. Beijing recently alluded to the US approach as something it had “cooked up” on its own.
Biden appeared to be referring to a 90-minute phone discussion he had with Xi on September 9th, their first in seven months, in which they addressed the need of ensuring that rivalry between the world’s two greatest economies did not veer into confrontation.
Biden is sending White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan to Switzerland to meet with top Chinese foreign policy advisor Yang Jiechi. The two nations are at differences over a number of issues, including Taiwan and trade.