Ukraine war quagmire prompts China to rethink Taiwan: CIA chief | Political news
The CIA chief has warned that China appears determined to use force in Taiwan, with Russia’s experience in Ukraine only affecting Beijing’s calculations of when and how – rather than whether – to ‘to invade.
Central Intelligence Agency director Bill Burns said Wednesday that China likely saw in Ukraine that “you don’t win quick, decisive victories with disappointing strength.”
China claims the self-governing territory of Taiwan, where nationalists established a government in 1948 after losing power to communists in the country’s civil war, is part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the island.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Burns said China was ‘disturbed’ over Russia’s five-month war in Ukraine, which he called a ‘strategic failure’ for the president Vladimir Putin because he had hoped to overthrow the Kyiv government. within a week.
“Our feeling is that it probably affects less whether Chinese leaders might choose in a few years to use force to control Taiwan, but how and when they would,” Burns said.
“I suspect the lesson the Chinese leadership and military are learning is that you have to amass overwhelming force if you’re considering this in the future,” he said.
Burns’ comments come amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a host of issues including trade and Taiwan, as US President Joe Biden revealed plans for a call with President Xi Jinping – the first between the two leaders in four months.
“I think I will speak to President Xi in the next 10 days,” Biden told reporters upon returning from Massachusetts.
The United States calls China the main strategic rival and says high-level engagement is important to keep the difficult relationship stable and prevent it from inadvertently descending into conflict.
Beijing’s anger was raised earlier this week when it was reported that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was planning to visit Taiwan next month, and the destroyer USS Benfold sailed through the Straits of Taiwan.
Beijing has said it will respond with “strong action” if Pelosi’s trip continues, and on Wednesday Biden expressed doubts about his continuation.
“I think the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what its status is,” Biden said.
Burns played down speculation that Xi could intervene in Taiwan after a key Communist Party meeting later this year, but said the risks “become higher, it seems to us, the further we go into this decade.”
“I would not underestimate President Xi’s determination to assert China’s control” over Taiwan, he said.
Speaking to Burns at the forum in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang said Beijing still prefers “peaceful reunification” but he accused the United States of supporting the “independence” forces in Taiwan.
Beijing has stepped up its activities, including regular incursions into Taiwan’s Airline Identification Zone, since President Tsai Ing-wen, who has asserted the island’s separate identity, was first elected president. in 2016.
While Qin said “no conflict or war” was the biggest consensus between China and the United States, he accused Washington of “digging in and muddling” its policy of formally recognizing Beijing.
“Only by strictly adhering to the one-China policy, uniting to coerce and oppose Taiwan independence, can we have peaceful reunification,” he said. declared.
Washington established official ties with Beijing in 1979 and at the same time pledged to help Taiwan defend itself. At the time, Taipei claimed to represent the whole of China, but since democratization has ceased to assert this claim.
Officially, Washington maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the territory.
Last month, the State Department updated its Taiwan fact sheet to reinstate a line about not supporting the island’s formal independence.