WASHINGTON | China could invade Taiwan within six years to achieve its stated ambition to supplant the United States as the leading military power in the Pacific Ocean, the commander of US forces in the region, Admiral Philip Davidson, said on Tuesday.
“I fear that they are accelerating their project to supplant the United States (…) by 2050”, declared the head of the Indo-Pacific military command (Indopacom) before a committee of the Senate . “I’m afraid they want to reach their goal sooner than expected. “
“It is clear that Taiwan is part of their ambitions and I think the threat is evident in the next decade, in fact the next six years”, that is to say by 2027, he added.
The United States severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 in order to recognize Beijing as China’s sole official representative, but it remains Taiwan’s most powerful ally and its number one arms supplier.
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However, China considers the island as a Chinese province and threatens to take it back by force in the event of a formal proclamation of independence, or foreign intervention.
After regaining control of Hong Kong in a muscular fashion, Beijing has multiplied the warnings to Taiwan by demonstrations of force and by trying to prevent navigation in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two territories.
China, which also has territorial ambitions in the South China Sea (vis-à-vis Vietnam and the Philippines in particular), in the East China Sea (on the Senkaku Islands controlled by Japan) as well as in the Himalayas opposite to India, even threatens the American island of Guam, in the Pacific, underlined Admiral Davidson.
“Guam is a target today,” he warned, recalling that the Chinese military released a promotional video last year showing Chinese pilots attacking a military base on the island 2,500 km away. east of the Philippines.
He called on the elected representatives of the Senate to approve the installation on Guam of a latest generation Aegis Ashore anti-missile battery, capable of intercepting the most powerful Chinese missiles in flight.
Guam “must be defended and must be prepared for the threats to come, because it is clear to me that Guam is no longer just a place where we think we can fight,” he added. “We’re going to have to fight for it. “
In addition to three other Aegis missile defense systems destined for Australia and Japan, Admiral Davidson asked elected officials to budget in the 2022 military budget for offensive armaments “so that China knows that the cost of what they are trying to do is too high and to make them doubt their chances of success ”.
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