CIA chief on China’s ability to invade Taiwan


Taiwan has received numerous displays of official American support for the island democracy in the face of growing shows of force by Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

China’s President Xi Jinping and his military leadership are doubtful about their ability to invade Taiwan after Russia’s experience in Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns said. In a television interview that aired on Sunday, the top US intelligence official stressed that America must take Xi’s ambition of controlling Taiwan “very seriously”, adding that it, however, doesn’t mean an inevitable military conflict.

“We do know, as has been made public, that President Xi has instructed the PLA, the Chinese military leadership, to be ready by 2027 to invade Taiwan, but that doesn’t mean that he’s decided to invade in 2027 or any other year as well,” Burns told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I think our judgment at least is that President Xi and his military leadership have doubts today about whether they could accomplish that invasion,” he said.

Burns said the support from the US and European allies for Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of that country may be acting as a potential deterrent to Chinese officials for now.

“I think, as they’ve looked at Putin’s experience in Ukraine, that’self-governednforced some of those doubts,” Burns said. “So, all I would say is that I think the risks of, you know, a potential use of force probably grow the further into this decade you get and beyond it, into the following decade as well.

“So that’s something obviously, that we watch very, very carefully,” he said.

Taiwan is a self -governed island and consiisland’stself an independent nation but Beijing has for long been claiming it as part of its territory under its one-China policy. The self-governing island acts like a sovereign nation yet is not recognised by the United Nations or any major country.

While Taiwan has received numerous displays of official American support for the island democracy, it is silent as to whether US forces might be sent in response to a probable Chinese attack.