Russian spy: attack on Ukraine stopped Chinese invasion of Taiwan
It was scheduled for next autumn. Xi Jinping would need a "small victory" to secure a third term in power. Taipei cannot confirm the authenticity of the document, but it is credible, according to a well-known investigative journalist. After invasion of Ukraine, Taiwanese more ready to fight.
Taipei (AsiaNews) - Xi Jinping was planning to invade Taiwan next autumn, but Russia's attack on Ukraine, and the military difficulties that have emerged from the battlefield, would have dissuaded the Chinese president from launching the venture. This is according to Vladimir Osechkin, head of the humanitarian group Gulag Net, citing Russian intelligence funds that he allegedly came into possession of.
On Facebook, Osechkin published material dated 4 March that he attributes to an analyst of the FSB, Moscow's internal intelligence service. According to the document, Xi was preparing the recapture of Taiwan because he "needs his little victory to secure his third term" in power. The assault on the island was planned on the eve of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to strengthen Xi's position, while a "colossal" power struggle is taking place within the Chinese leadership.
The alleged Russian intelligence analyst claims that events in Ukraine "closed the window of opportunity" to attack Taiwan. This would have given the US the opportunity to "blackmail Xi as well as negotiate with its adversaries on advantageous terms". According to the Moscow spy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has activated a "trap mechanism" for Beijing.
investigative journalist Christo Grozev wrote in a Twitter post that two of his contacts at the FSB had confirmed: "Without a doubt [the report] was written by a colleague".
This morning, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that he could not confirm the veracity of the revelation at the moment, but that Taipei is closely monitoring Beijing's moves. Earlier, Wu said the Chinese government is closely watching what is happening in Ukraine, especially the West's united response and the problems faced by the Russians in the military campaign.
After Russia's armed blitz in Ukraine, Taiwan raised its military alert level. These days its naval units are carrying out military exercises in the waters of Dongyin Island, a few kilometres from the Chinese province of Fujian.
China considers Taiwan a "rebel province" and has never ruled out re-conquering 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.
After the invasion of Ukraine, Taiwanese are more willing to fight to defend their country from a Chinese attack. A survey released yesterday by the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society reveals that 70.2 per cent of respondents are ready to take up arms against an aggression by Beijing; in a December survey it was only 40.3 per cent.