A Chinese attack on Taiwan is not imminent but the US is watching “very closely” says Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff.
In his view, China is clearly developing the capability to attack Taiwan at some point, but deciding to do so would be a political choice, he opines.
Asked whether he thought China would attack Taiwan , Gen Milley told the BBC: “Could, should, would, those are key words there. In terms of capability I think China clearly is developing a capability. President Xi has mentioned that in public forums, he’s mentioned it in speeches, that he has challenged the PLA (China’s People’s Liberation Army) to develop the capability to attack Taiwan at some point in time”.
“And whether they would or not, it’s a political choice, it’s a policy choice, that will be based off of how the Chinese view the cost risk benefit at the time.”
He went to add: “There’s no indications or warnings of anything imminent at this time. But again, we watch it very, very closely.”
The US has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but sells arms to it as part of its Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the US must provide the island with the means to defend itself.At the same time, it maintains formal ties with China and also diplomatically acknowledges China ‘s position that there is only one Chinese government.