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Fears grow Beijing is preparing to invade Taiwan.
In recent months, US war planners and analysts have brought forward estimates of when Beijing may look to take Taiwan, ABC news of Australia reported.
“The time frame for an assault on Taiwan, I would put it at 2025 to 2027,” says defence academic Oriana Skylar Mastro from Stanford University.
She says there is a growing confidence within the People’s Liberation Army that it could successfully invade Taiwan.
“For 15 years I would ask the Chinese military if they could do this [invade Taiwan], and the answer was ‘no’. So, the fact that for the first time at the end of 2020 they’re starting to say ‘yes’, I think that’s a significant message we should pay attention to,” she says.
J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter undetected over Taiwan
Skylar’s assertions were supported by a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) J-20 stealth fighter pilot’s claims who said that he flew over Taiwan’s airspace and his Mighty Dragon was not intercepted by Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) aircraft in January.
PLAAF Captain Yang Juncheng of the “Wang Hai” brigade recently told Chinese Central Television (CCTV) that he flew over Taiwan, overseeing the entire island from his cockpit. He said that he flew over Bashi Channel, Miyako Strait, and Tsushima Strait in the East China Sea.
Taiwan’s National Ministry of Defense had not officially acknowledged a J-20 flight near its airspace. According to The EurAsian Times, the MND regularly publishes data about Chinese aerial and maritime incursions on its official Twitter handle. This could mean that either the island forces could not intercept the J-20 or chose to withhold that information.
However, Yang added: “I said to myself at that time, I will fly over in the future! There is no such thing as the Taiwan Strait.”
What could go wrong if China invaded Taiwan?
If China made a move on Taiwan, the subsequent conflict would have potential to start a dangerous, world-wide conflict, according to Eric Wicklund, former US Navy Operations Specialist, who explains on Quora;
‘What could possibly go wrong?
‘Even so, I doubt such a fight would come down to a nuclear exchange. It’s still like playing with fire; kinda like smoking while putting petrol in your car. Safeguards should make a sudden fire unlikely, but doing so is still a stupid practice just on general principles.
‘As it stands, I don’t think China will invade Taiwan. China has a lot of headaches right now, and an invasion of Taiwan will not be an easy thing to do. China may or may not be successful, but they will get bloodied, badly, even if the US doesn’t join in. And all that would just be more headaches and a greater loss of face than Chinese will bear from Xi.’
‘China has much more to lose by invading Taiwan, than they have to gain. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, but the safe bet is that China will try to sort out their economic woes for the time being.’
Photo credit: U.S. Navy and N509FZ, Own work via Wikipedia