According to Taiwan’s foreign minister, China seems more likely to invade Taiwan in order to distract from the domestic problems of leader Xi Jinping.
In his first interview with Sky News, Joseph Wu stated that 2027 is the most likely date for such an action.
These words were spoken at a time of high tensions in Taiwan Strait. China is now flying fighter planes toward Taiwanese airspace every day.
Wu said that Taiwan’s current status quo arrangement in which Taiwan is autonomous but not declaring independence “might not last forever” in rare acknowledgment of the possibility that it might be assimilated into China or become independent.
China regards Taiwan as its own democratic and self-governing island.
Despite Taiwan never being under the control of the governing Communist Party (the governing Communist Party), President Xi Jinping described Taiwan’s bringing it under Chinese control as “core of China’s core interests”.
Wu admitted that the “situation in the last year is much worse than the two preceding years”, but stated that 2027 was the year that he believes we should be watching out for.
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“Xi Jinping will likely enter his fourth term in 2027. If he can’t claim any accomplishments during his three previous terms, he may need to look for something to replace them.
The Chinese economy is in decline, if you take a look at it right now. The real estate industry seems to be in decline, and people aren’t happy.
“If Xi Jinping is unable to change the domestic situation in China, you may want to resort to force or create a crisis outside to divert attention from domestic issues or show the Chinese that he has done something.
“We are worried that Taiwan could become his scapegoat.”
“A small accident could spark major war”
Chinese fighter jets fly towards Taiwanese skies and cross the so-called “median line” – an unofficial maritime border – on a daily basis.
This number grew fivefold between 2020-2022, with the highest daily count ever recorded only three weeks ago.
Wu stated that the worst case scenario is more likely than ever in recent years and described the dangers of the situation.
He said, “Look at how close the Chinese aircraft are to ours.”
“If they cross the 24-nautical miles zone, some weapons systems might have the capability to target them, which could spark an accident even though the pilots might not intend to cross the 24 mile mark.
“Very often, you can see that a small accident could spark into a major conflict.
“We are concerned about what might happen.”
He said that self-restraint is the only way to stop this sudden escalation.
“Our pilots have a lot of experience; they are well-trained and know that they can’t fire the first shot,” Mr Wu stated.
Is Taiwan ready for war against China?
Military experts have suggested that Taiwan isn’t well prepared for war if it were to strike.
Taiwan spends only 2.4% of its gross national product (GDP), which is less than other countries and about half that of Israel.
Analysis shows that it does not have enough ammunition, is unable to recruit enough soldiers and is not focusing enough on the type of asymmetric capabilities that it would need in order to win a war against China.
Although the foreign minister denied that Taiwan was complacent, he acknowledged that it had been slow to prepare in the past.
He said, “We know that we might not have had sufficient ammunition in previous years.”
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“In the past, we might not be able to provide enough training for our military personnel. We have seen that our troops in Taiwan defense might not have been sufficient in the past. But, look at the reforms the president announced.
Recently, Taiwan increased its compulsory military service to one year. It also increased the defense budget. Taiwan is trying to get domestic production of missiles and drones going.
Mr Wu stated that he was doing everything possible to prepare Taiwan and make Taiwan able to defend itself.
He stated that Taiwan was willing to negotiate with China but he made it clear that Taiwan doesn’t accept “political preconditions”.
He stated, “Accepting these Chinese preconditions means we are submissive to China. That is something the people of Taiwan would never accept. But our door is open.”