U.S. military concerned about increasing risk of Chinese action against Taiwan

The U.S. military is warning that China is probably speeding up its timetable for taking control of Taiwan, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

“We have indications that the risks are actually going up,” Adm. Philip Davidson, the highest ranking U.S. military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, said last month, referring to a potential Chinese military action against the island nation, according to the AP.

“The threat is manifest during this decade — in fact, in the next six years,” Davidson also said.

Adm. John Aquilino, Davidson’s expected successor, declined to back up the six-year timeframe. However, according to the AP, he said at his confirmation hearing last month: “My opinion is, this problem is much closer to us than most think.”

He also said a “likely” future invasion of Taiwan by China was of “critical concern”.

Due to mounting tensions, the USS John S. McCain ventured into the Taiwan strait on Wednesday, according to Focus Taiwan. This is the fourth time a U.S. warship has sailed through the strait since President Joe Biden took office in January, according to the outlet.

According to Reuters, China has been performing fighter jet flyovers in Taiwanese airspace and a carrier group of its has drilled near Taiwan.

While Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Wednesday said the military threat is growing, he noted it was not yet “particularly alarming”. The Chinese military in has been performing “real combat-type” exercises nearer to the island in recent years, Wu also said, according to the AP.

“We are willing to defend ourselves, that’s without any question,” Wu also said. “We will fight a war if we need to fight a war, and if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day, then we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China’s military must be “prepared to respond” to numerous security situations amid rising instability and uncertainty, the South China Morning Post reported.

Biden late last month during his first formal press conference said the U.S. and its allies will “hold China accountable to follow the rules,” according to NBC News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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