Last week, Bill Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, played down speculation that Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, could attempt to take Taiwan after a key Communist Party meeting later this year where he intends to to be installed for a third term as leader. .
“The risks of that increasing, it seems to us, the further we go into this decade,” Burns told the Aspen Security Forum.
Previous American predictions, including that of Admiral Philip Davidson, the former head of the Indo-Pacific Command, have focused on a timescale of five to six years.
Taipei and Washington, its largest arms supplier, are also learning from the war in Ukraine to focus more on building Taiwan’s defenses with “asymmetric” warfare capabilities – small, mobile, survivable weapons that could inflict maximum damage to an invading force.
Taiwan’s annual “Han Kuang” military drills in July simulate repelling air and sea attacks and coincide with air raid drills across the island to prepare the public for a crisis.
The United States and China have also stepped up their own military drills as they increasingly vie for dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.