U.S. intelligence shows that China’s President Xi Jinping has instructed his country’s military to “be ready by 2027” to invade Taiwan though he may be currently harboring doubts about his ability to do so given Russia’s experience in its war with Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns said.
Burns, in a television interview that aired Sunday, stressed that the United States must take “very seriously” Xi’s desire to ultimately control Taiwan even if military conflict is not inevitable.
“We do know, as has been made public, that President Xi has instructed the PLA, the Chinese military leadership, to be ready by 2027 to invade Taiwan, but that doesn’t mean that he’s decided to invade in 2027 or any other year as well,” Burns told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think our judgment at least is that President Xi and his military leadership have doubts today about whether they could accomplish that invasion,” he said.
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Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland. The self-governing island acts like a sovereign nation yet is not recognized by the United Nations or any major country. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter formally recognized the government in Beijing and cut nation-to-nation ties with Taiwan. In response, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, creating a benchmark for a continuing relationship.
Taiwan has received numerous displays of official American support for the island democracy in the face of growing shows of force by Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. President Joe Biden has said that American forces would defend Taiwan if China tries to invade. The White House says U.S. policy has not changed in making clear that Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully. It is silent as to whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack.
In Sunday’s interview, Burns said the support from the U.S. and European allies for Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of that country may be acting as a potential deterrent to Chinese officials for now but said the risks of a possible attack on Taiwan will only grow stronger.
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“I think, as they’ve looked at Putin’s experience in Ukraine, that’s probably reinforced some of those doubts,” Burns said. “So, all I would say is that I think the risks of, you know, a potential use of force probably grow the further into this decade you get and beyond it, into the following decade as well.
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“So that’s something obviously, that we watch very, very carefully,” he said.
China accuses U.S. of ‘bullying’ with new ‘illegal’ sanctions
China on Monday accused the U.S. of “outright bullying and double standards” in leveling what it called “illegal” sanctions on Chinese companies as part of U.S. actions against Russia’s Wagner Group and related companies and individuals.
The entities were targeted for their role in the war in Ukraine and mercenary activities, including human rights abuses, in Africa.
The sanctions “have no basis in international law or authorization from the Security Council, and are typical illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing.
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The punitive measures were “seriously harming China’s interests” and China “strongly rejects and deplores that and has lodged solemn complaints with the U.S. side,” Mao said.
“While the U.S. has intensified its efforts to send weapons to one of the parties to the conflict, resulting in an endless war, it has frequently spread false information about China’s supply of weapons to Russia, taking the opportunity to sanction Chinese companies for no reason,” she said. “This is outright bullying and double standards.”
The Treasury and State departments announced the moves in coordinated statements that targeted dozens of Wagner Group affiliates, including some in the Central African Republic and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the president of Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern, the original manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle.
Wagner, a private Russian military company, has been involved in heavy fighting in the east of Ukraine.
The sanctions also hit the Chinese company Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd., also known as Spacety China, which has supplied Wagner Group affiliates with satellite imagery of Ukraine that support Wagner’s military operations there. A Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Spacety China was also targeted.
© 2023 The Canadian Press
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