02/03/2022, 00.00
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China will try to invade Taiwan by 2027

In five years’ time the People's Liberation Army will be 100 years in operation. Prominent academic Jin Canrong: Beijing can take the island in a week, and the US can't avoid it. Pentagon prepares response with mobilising of troops and military machinery in the region. Nationalist professor reprimands Japan.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China will try to invade Taiwan by 2027, Jin Canrong, an influential professor of international studies has told Nikkei Asia. The Renmin University academic is a popular advisor to the government, and is considered a foreign policy hawk.

Jin is convinced that the US can do little to prevent the forced reunification of Taiwan: in his view, China is in a position of superiority given the geographical advantage the Asian giant enjoys.

Beijing considers Taiwan a 'rebel province' and has never ruled out retaking it by force. The island has been de facto independent from Beijing since 1949; at that time Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists found refuge there after losing the civil war on the mainland to the communists, making it the heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.

Xi has set unification with Taiwan as a primary goal, but without specifying a date. Jin maintains that after the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party closes in autumn - with Xi's new coronation - concrete preparations for the invasion will begin.

The 2027 deadline indicated by the Chinese expert has a very symbolic value for the Party: it will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of the People's Liberation Army.

The nationalist professor believes armed conflict will be almost inevitable. He leaves little room for the possibility of a peaceful reunification, since the Taiwanese political force willing to dialogue with Beijing (the Kuomintang) has little chance of regaining power.

Jin's prediction largely coincides with those of the US generals. According to the Taipei government, however, China already has the capability to invade Taiwan and will be able to launch a "large-scale" attack against the island by 2025. The Renmin professor argues that Beijing can take the island in a week and that Chinese forces can hold off US forces within 1,000 km of its coast.

China's strategic objective is to prevent the US from crossing the "first island chain", the ideal line connecting southern Japan with the island of Papua, which also includes Taiwan and the Philippines. For this reason, Jin points out, the Chinese Armed Forces are refining their ability to use missiles as a threat to the naval and air operations of the US military units, and also to Washington's bases in the Western Pacific - especially those in Japan and Guam.

However, US strategists contacted by AsiaNews explain that the Pentagon is ready to respond to Chinese offensive plans. The US military's idea is to deploy highly mobile troops and armaments to the islands in the region, so as not to give the People's Liberation Army any references.

With the Taiwan Relations Act, the US promised to defend Taipei, in particular with military supplies. Adopted in 1979 after the formal diplomatic recognition of Communist China, the measure does not specify the actual nature of Washington's commitment: a "strategic ambiguity" that produces continuous tensions with the Chinese government.

Jin, who acts almost like a Foreign Ministry spokesman, goes on to warn Japan not to join the US in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. He cautions that if Taipei is helped, Tokyo will be defeated like Washington: according to the Chinese academic, the Japanese must get used to the idea that a new course is opening up in East Asia.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is still highly influential in domestic politics, said in early December that an attack on Taipei is an "emergency" for Tokyo too. Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that the country would reinforce its defences in the Ryukyu islands: the archipelago - which hosts important American bases - stretches between the southern island of Kyushu and Taiwan.

Tensions are now high between Beijing and Tokyo. On 1 February, the lower house of the Japanese parliament passed a resolution condemning the humanitarian situation in China, with direct references to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet. The Chinese government responded by referring to it as a 'serious provocation'.

 

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