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The United States must start thinking more globally if it hopes to limit China’s ambitions as President Xi Jinping establishes a timeline that would see his military capable of doing so invade Taiwan by 2027, experts told Fox News Digital.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley this week highlighted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments in which he outlined a timeline for achieving the ability, not the intention, to invade Taiwan by 2027. The comments first surfaced in a speech Xi gave to the People’s Liberation Army in 2021, during which he challenged his army to accelerate its modernization.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Friday addressed the 2027 timeline, painting a broad picture in which China needed to improve its offensive, power projection, access denial and other capabilities.
“They are trying to build up standoff capacity to prevent other armies, including the United States, from physically accessing any territorial claims they might make,” Kirby said. “So it’s a combination of these kinds of abilities that I think we’re looking at both offensive and access denial abilities.”
Developing such capabilities does not guarantee that China will carry out that invasion; Kirby pointed to economic challenges as a potential trap, saying China “is not immune to the international economy,” which may have an effect on Beijing’s ability to build defense capabilities.
The most important shortcoming China faces relative to the United States includes its ability to defend against an amphibious force, as well as its ability to cut support from Taiwan’s allies, such as cutting sea lanes and other supply methods, according to James Anderson. , former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under President Trump.
“One is having a really strong amphibious capability,” Anderson told Fox News Digital. “They need more amphibious platforms – large amphibious ships – and they are building those … having these large amphibious warships strengthens their ability to invade the island or rather increases their ability to succeed.
“This involves missiles, mines and aircraft to substantially prevent US warships from approaching the island of Taiwan and prevent them from assisting in the defense of Taiwan to prevent them from any kind of resupply effort,” Anderson added.
But Anderson believes that the most critical element in China’s calculation will be the level of assistance to Taiwan from the United States and its allies, an element that would heavily affect China’s decision to achieve that goal.
“It is in that context that the PRC’s sea denial capabilities become a really important variable, and this is to say now to what extent the PRC might expect to be able to hold back the efforts of the US Navy and other partners. to assist Taiwan, “Anderson explained.
“I think the PRC has roughly that ability to forcibly retake the island before 2027, depending on certain scenarios,” he added. “For example, if the United States were seriously distracted by another conflict in the world … they would be less capable and less likely to assist Taiwan.”
Matt McInnis of the Institute for the Study of War agreed that the United States will have to “make choices and prioritize” its international initiatives, but it must “think globally” if it is to fight China’s growing capabilities.
“You hear some in recent comments from US military leaders about how to think of China and Russia as a related problem,” McInnis said. “The question of how to look at the Middle East or South Asia or other key places … certainly from a resource standpoint, the United States has made some pretty significant choices.”
Such choices include accelerating military withdrawal and withdrawal from Afghanistan is heavy investment in the military capabilities of Ukraine in preparation for and during the invasion of Russia earlier this year.
The lack of engagement in the Middle East has worried long-time US allies in the region, especially in light of the Biden administration’s intention to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iranian nuclear deal, which has the potential to destabilize the region and lead to greater proliferation of nuclear weapons.
At the same time, China has greater investments in the region, by signing contracts with Iraq and other countries to provide construction materials and help improve local infrastructure. McInnis, who served as a member of political planning at the State Department, also explained how China has invested in Latin America, including Panama and Mexico.
“China is expanding its ability to operate,” McInnis said. “And part of that is because they understand that any potential conflict with the United States will go on for a while … it will be important to disrupt the capabilities of the United States to provide a battle as well as allies in Europe and potentially India and also in other places”.
Kirby noted in his Friday comments to reporters that the US military budget has “a lot of money”, including record investments in science and technology research “to try and ensure that we too have the capabilities to meet those commitments.”