05/11/2022, 13.19
TAIWAN – CHINA
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US intelligence sees 'acute' threat of a Chinese armed attack against Taiwan

Washington expects Beijing to invade the island by 2030. War in Ukraine has not deterred Xi Jinping, but it has had an impact on "how and when" the mainland will make its move. The Taiwanese are taking notes of the damage inflicted by Ukraine’s military on the Russian giant. Tensions are rising between Washington and Beijing after US warship transits through the Taiwan Strait.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – The threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan by 2030 is "acute”, this according to Avril Haines, director of National Intelligence in the Biden administration, speaking before a Senate Armed Services Committee.

Haines explained that Beijing would rather avoid a conflict to retake the island, but its military is preparing for an operation of this type, to be conducted before any US intervention.

China considers Taiwan a "rebel province”, and has never ruled out using force to take it. The latter has been de facto independent since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (nationalist) forces lost the civil war against the Communists, but remained heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.

For US intelligence, the difficulties encountered in Ukraine by Russia’s invasion forces have not dissuaded Xi Jinping from regaining control of Taiwan. CIA director William Burns noted on Saturday that the Ukraine conflict has had an impact only on "how and when" China will act.

About three weeks after Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, reports emerged that Xi had planned to invade the island next fall, either before or after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is likely to give him for a third mandate as China’s paramount leader.

The information came from Vladimir Osechkin, head of the humanitarian group Gulag Net, who attributed it to an analyst in the FSB, Russia’s main security agency. Putin’s attack on Ukraine, and Moscow’s military setbacks gave China’s president second thoughts.

US intelligence notes that Taipei has learnt several lessons from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict; most notably how to boost its defence against Beijing and improve its asymmetrical" arsenal, with drones, anti-ship missiles and submarines.

It should be noted that under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States pledged to defend the island, especially with military supplies.

Adopted in 1979 after the United States formally recognised Communist China, the law does not, however, clearly specify whether Washington will respond to Chinese aggression against Taiwan.

Pressed by Congress, the Biden administration has strengthened ties with Taiwan, a policy pursued under the previous Trump administration as well.

Arousing the wrath of Beijing, cruiser USS Port Royal crossed the Taiwan Strait yesterday. This is the second time in two weeks that a US warship transits through the waterway separates the island from the Chinese coast, the third since February.

A few days earlier, the Chinese Navy had conducted exercises in the area.

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