10/21/2022, 12.25
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US Navy chief warns Beijing could attack Taipei by 2024, not 2027

Admiral Michael Gilday anticipates the time frame for a possible Chinese invasion. Taiwan's forecast was for 2025. In the next two years, Washington must deliver a large consignment of anti-ship missiles to Taiwan. Secretary of State Blinken: China is pursuing 'reunification at a faster pace'.


Taipei (AsiaNews) - China may be able to invade Taiwan by 2024 and not 2027, as previously predicted by the Pentagon according to Admiral Michael Gilday, the US Navy's chief of naval operations. In March 2021, Admiral Phil Davidson, then head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, had stated that the Chinese might try to retake the island within the next six years.

Beijing considers Taiwan a 'rebel province' and has never ruled out recapturing it by force. The island has been de facto independent of China since 1949, at which time Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists took 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.

Gilday's prediction, made on 19 October at a conference organised by the Atlantic Council, not only anticipates the 'Davidson window', but also the Taiwan window. In October last year, Taiwanese Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng warned that China would achieve the capability to launch a 'large-scale' attack against the island by 2025.

Gilday's release is in line with what AsiaNews reported in late 2021, with the possibility of Chinese aggression on Taiwan before Taipei receives a major anti-ship missile delivery from the US, scheduled for 2023 and 2024.

In his speech, Gilday emphasised that the US fleet must be ready for a war scenario along the Taiwan Strait. And this is not because of Xi Jinping's bellicose words at the opening of the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress, but because Beijing has been realising its goals ahead of schedule for the past 20 years.

However, the US government leadership seems less certain on the Taiwan issue. To soften the blow after Gilday's statements, the White House National Security Council spokesman declared yesterday that 'there is no reason' for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. On 17 October, however, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that China is pursuing 'reunification at a faster pace'.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US is committed to defending the island. Adopted in 1979 after the formal diplomatic recognition of Communist China, the act does not specify the actual nature of Washington's commitment to Taiwan: a 'strategic ambiguity' that produces continuing tensions with Beijing.

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