WASHINGTON – The U.S. top general said Thursday that there is little chance that the Chinese government will try to take over military power in the short term, as Beijing still has a way to develop the necessary capabilities.
While there is growing concern in Taiwan and among some U.S. lawmakers about Chinese military activities near the island, such as planes in Taiwan’s air defense zone (ADIZ), U.S. military officials told Reuters such moves do not affect too much.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a key national interest of China, “there is currently little or no motivation to do so militarily.”
“There’s no reason to do it militarily, and they know it. “I therefore think that the probability in the immediate, near future is probably low,” Milley said during a congressional hearing.
“My assessment in terms of capability, I think China has a way of developing the real, non-funny ability to conduct military operations to seize the entire island of Taiwan by military means, if they want to do so, he added. .
The United States is Taiwan’s strongest international supporter and main source of weapons, angering the Chinese regime.
Beijing says the democratically-controlled island is part of ‘one China’ and regularly denounces foreign involvement as interfering in its domestic affairs.
Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives will pass legislation this week to boost U.S. support for Taiwan, which is part of an effort by Congress to take a hard line in its dealings with China.
NATO leaders, encouraged by US President Joe Biden, warned at a summit on Monday that China faces ‘systemic challenges’, taking a more powerful stance on Beijing.
Earlier this week, twenty-eight Chinese air force planes, including fighters and nuclear bombers, entered Taiwan’s ADIZ, the largest reported raid to date.
Like most countries, the United States has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart