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Monday, April 15, 2024

Taiwan’s foreign minister warns of conflict with China in 2027

Taiwan’s foreign minister says it is preparing for a possible conflict with China in 2027.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC Tonight, Joseph Wu said, “We take the threat posed by the Chinese military very seriously… I think 2027 is the year to take it seriously.”

US intelligence believes Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, has ordered the country’s military to be ready to annex Taiwan by 2027. China regards Taiwan, a democratic and self-governing island, as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland. Since Xi came to power in 2012, he has emphasized that Taiwan’s problems “cannot be passed down from generation to generation.”

On Friday, China’s Foreign Minister Qing Gang said both sides of the Taiwan Strait belonged to China and that “those who play with fire in Taiwan will sacrifice themselves.”

Some US officials believe conflict could come sooner. In January, General Mike Minihan, former US Indo-Pacific Command deputy commander, said his “gut feeling” told him to expect conflict in 2025.

On Tuesday, Admiral John Aquilino, head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that “everyone is guessing” when it comes to predicting the time frame for the conflict.

Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, a US think tank, said: “Military capability is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for China to launch an offensive. Military readiness does not imply that China will take this step.

Sun noted that Chinese authorities have never publicly set a target for 2027. He said, “I don’t think Xi plans to invade Taiwan in 2027 unless Taiwan declares independence by then.”

However, Wu’s comments on Thursday showed the lengths to which Taiwan is trying to win Western support ahead of a possible invasion. In a March interview, Wu highlighted the risks the conflict poses to Britain, saying that “Britain sees China as an economic opportunity in the long term” and an attack on Taiwan would hit Britain “very seriously.”

“Therefore, we must find a comprehensive way to unify Britain, Taiwan, and other countries.”

In particular, Wu highlighted the extent to which the UK – and the rest of the world – depend on semiconductors from Taiwan, which manufactures more than 90% of the most advanced computer chips. “If there is any disruption in the supply chain or sea lanes, I think it will seriously impact the whole world,” said Wu.

In an interview with the Guardian on Tuesday, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said the UK should not “just hang up” its relationship with China. But lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly concerned about China’s threat to regional and global security.

Drawing an analogy between China and Russia, Wu said the world did not take Russia’s aggressive behavior in the past seriously. He said: “We are not preventing Russia from taking Crimea. And Russia is encouraged to go ahead and start a war against Ukraine.

“We’re not preventing China from enforcing national security laws in Hong Kong. And people are wondering: will Taiwan be next? Now Taiwan is feeling all the pressure.”

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