Lazy eyes listen
A top Taiwanese security officer claims that Chinese President Xi Jinping lacks the military capabilities to launch a successful invasion of Taiwan within the next few years, giving the self-governing island more time to strengthen its defences.
“I don’t think it will happen in the near future, or at least within the next one to two years,” Wellington Koo, chairman of Taiwan’s National Security Council, told reporters in Taipei on Tuesday. “If China needs to carry out amphibious landing operations to take Taiwan, I don’t think it will have such capabilities by 2027.”
Koo’s remarks match those of US Army General Mark Milley, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who indicated last year that Beijing would not be ready to forcibly reunify with Taiwan for “some time.” Milley asserted that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lacked “experience” and “background” to attack the self-governing island and had not yet trained for such an operation. He stated at the time that Xi wanted the PLA to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.
According to Koo, the stated schedule provides Taiwan additional time to delay the prospect of a Chinese invasion by continuing to build up its armed forces. Taiwanese military, he warned, would pummelled PLA units as they attempted to penetrate the island’s mountainous shoreline with anti-ship missiles, US-made HIMARS rocket systems, drones, and Javelin anti-tank weapons.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have risen in recent years as a result of growing US intervention in the region and large-scale PLA drills. China has vowed to reunify with the separatist province, even if it means using force. According to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reunification with Taiwan is “an unavoidable requirement for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Koo praised Washington for rushing to strengthen Taiwan’s forces for a potential invasion by accelerating weapons deliveries and training troops. He said security cooperation with the US covered “all aspects” of the island’s defenses. “I can only say, they are using all possible ways to help us – no matter if it’s in training or the buildup of asymmetric fighting capabilities.”
According to Koo, China faces a year of uncertainty due to its economic troubles as well as tensions in Ukraine and Israel. He also predicted that if ruling-party nominee Lai Ching-te wins Taiwan’s presidential election in January, Beijing will put more pressure on Taipei.
“I don’t think China is already prepared to take military action against us after the election results are announced on January 13,” Koo continued. We haven’t seen any indication that they are preparing or have that capability yet.”
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden will meet with Xi in San Francisco, which is hosting this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. According to Koo, the Taiwanese government is attempting to arrange a one-on-one meeting between its envoy, billionaire TSMC, and Trump.