Adam Schiff, the US chair of the influential House intelligence committee, has called for the US to be less ambiguous about its defence plans for Taiwan, amid Pentagon warnings that China’s military has made stunning advances.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Schiff, a leading Democrat, said the US and its international partners needed “to make it abundantly clear to 中国 what a significant cost it would pay were it to use force to try to invade and take over Taiwan”.
“We need to be much clearer about our obligation to defend Taiwan," 彼は言った.
Also speaking at the forum, the US chair of the joint chiefs of staff, マーク・ミリー将軍, said strategic ambiguity was the right policy, but warned China’s military was making stunning technological advances, citing the recent reported hypersonic missile test, but he didn’t expect any hostile action in the next two years.
“Having said that, でも, the Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the capability to provide those options to the national leadership if they so choose at some point in the future," 彼は言った.
“We are witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world has witnessed.”
The comments from Schiff and Milley come amid heightened concern over China’s plans for Taiwan, and speculation about an attack ranging from within a few years to decades away. In recent days, China’s military was forced to dispel rumours of an impending war.
The US has for decades held a deterrent policy of strategic ambiguity, refusing to confirm or deny if it would come to Taiwan’s military defence in the event of an attack by China.
But analysts and officials are increasingly questioning the continued merit of the policy, particularly given Beijing’s determination that it will take Taiwan, which it considers to be a rogue province, by force if necessary. Last month US president Joe Biden told a town hall that the US had a commitment to defend Taiwan. The comments were walked back by the White House but were widely seen as a sign of further US support.
“I think probably less ambiguity is better than more ambiguity,” Schiff said on Wednesday, but added there was a “fine line” when talking about it. “We don’t want to make any pronouncement that will accelerate Chinese thinking or timetable in terms of using military force against Taiwan," 彼は言った.
Milley said that there was “no question” the US had the capability to defend Taiwan.
In recent years China has ratcheted up its military drills and air force sorties into Taiwan’s air defence zone. On Thursday the latest US Pentagon assessment of China’s military said it was increasing its nuclear arsenal faster than previously thought.
懸念にもかかわらず, there has been no pronouncement from Beijing or indication of imminent action. 水曜日に, China’s military was forced to issue statements debunking fake text messages asking reservists to be prepared for drafting because tensions were so severe. A People’s Liberation Army-linked social media account said the texts, which told recipients to be “ready to fight”, were “malicious fabrications” and would be investigated.
Panic was also fuelled by unsubstantiated claims that Taiwanese were stockpiling, and unrelated warnings from China’s commerce ministry that people should stockpile essentials because of extreme weather-related food shortages.
“My mother was particularly worried today and said that China is going into a war with Taiwan,” said one Chinese Weibo user. “I told her don’t worry. Where did the rumour come from? I found out that my colleagues’ mothers had said the same thing. The source was TikTok.”
Taiwan’s government maintains it is already a sovereign nation and has no wish for conflict or unification with China.
It is gaining significant support from foreign governments and representatives. On Wednesday a delegation of European Union parliamentarians arrived in Taiwan, including members who had been sanctioned by China over the advocacy against rights abuses in Xinjiang.
At an event on Thursday the delegation leader, Raphaël Glucksmann, told Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen they came with a simple message: “You are not alone. Europe is standing with you, by you, in the defence of freedom, rule of law.”