TAIPEI — Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Wednesday China will be capable of mounting a full scale invasion of the democratic island by 2025.
“By 2025, China will bring the cost (of war) and attrition to its lowest,” Chiu said. “It has the capacity now, but it will not start a war easily, having to take many other things into consideration.”
Over a four day period beginning last Friday, Taiwan reported close to 150 Chinese air force aircraft entered its air defense zone, part of a pattern of what Taiwn calls Beijing’s continued harassment of the island. Just one incursion was reported on Tuesday.
The defence minister said on Wednesday that military tensions with China are at their worst in more than 40 years and there was a risk of a “misfire” across the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
“For me as a military man, the urgency is right in front of me,” Chiu told a parliamentary committee reviewing a special military spending for weapons including missiles and warships.
China says Taiwan should be taken by force if necessary. Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy, blaming China for the tensions.
The United States, Taiwan’s main military supplier, has confirmed its “rock-solid” commitment to Taiwan and also criticized China. Beijing blames Washington’s policies of supporting Taiwan with arms sales and sending warships through the Taiwan Strait for raising tensions.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan and they agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement.
Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s long-standing “one-China policy” under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which makes clear that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.
While that act binds the United States to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, Washington only acknowledges China’s stance that the island belongs to it and that there is “one China,” and takes no position on Taiwan’s sovereignty.