China could invade Taiwan in the next six years as Beijing accelerates its moves to supplant US military power in Asia, a senior US commander has warned.
Democratic and autonomous Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion from China, whose leaders see the island as part of their territory and which they have vowed to one day recover.
“I am concerned that they are [China] accelerating its ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order … by 2050, “Washington’s top military officer in Asia-Pacific, Admiral Philip Davidson, said Tuesday.
“Taiwan is clearly one of his ambitions before that. And I think the threat manifests itself during this decade, in fact, in the next six years, ”he said at a hearing of the United States Senate armed services committee.
Taiwan separated from China at the end of a civil war in 1949 and exists under constant threat of invasion from the mainland.
Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, but it remains the island’s most important unofficial ally and military backer.
Donald Trump embraced warmer ties with Taiwan while battling with China on issues such as trade and national security.
The Biden administration has offered Taiwan cause for optimism for continued support, with the State Department saying in January that the United States’ commitment to the island was “rock solid.”
Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the United States was formally invited to Biden’s inauguration, a move unprecedented since 1979.
China has also made expansive territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea and even threatens the US island of Guam, Davidson said.
“Guam is a target today,” he warned, recalling that the Chinese army published a video that simulates an attack on a base on the island that closely resembles the US facilities in Diego García and Guam.
He called on lawmakers to approve the installation in Guam of an Aegis Ashore anti-missile battery, capable of intercepting China’s most powerful missiles in flight.
Guam “must be defended and must be prepared for the threats that will come in the future,” Davidson said.
In addition to other Aegis missile defense systems targeting Australia and Japan, Davidson asked lawmakers to budget for more long-range weaponry “so China knows that the costs of what they are looking to do are too high.”
“A broader base of long-range precision fires, which are enabled by all of our ground forces, not only sea and air, but also ground forces, is vitally important to stabilize what is becoming an environment. most unstable in the western Pacific. ” Davidson said.
While the Pentagon has said it was in favor of placing such missiles in the region, so far allies in Asia appear to be opposed to the idea of harboring them.
Davidson said, however, that missile defense was not enough to deter a potential adversary. “Missile defense is the hardest thing to do. And if I’m the manager of a baseball team, if I can have the best defenses in the world, but if I can’t score some runs, I can’t win the game, ”Davidson said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism