China wants to take Taiwan peacefully, but is preparing militarily – US intelligence officials
China wants to take Taiwan peacefully, but is preparing militarily – US intelligence officials

China wants to take Taiwan peacefully, but is preparing militarily – US intelligence officials

Chinese and Taiwanese printed flags are seen in this illustration taken on April 28, 2022. The picture was taken on April 28, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) – China would prefer to take over neighboring Taiwan without military action, but is working to reach a position where its military can win even if the United States intervenes, U.S. intelligence chiefs said Tuesday.

China considers Taiwan, a democratically governed island, as its “sacred” territory and has never given up on the possible use of force to secure a possible union.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is its main international supporter and arms supplier, making it a constant source of tension between Beijing and Washington.

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“It is our view that they (the Chinese) are working hard to effectively put themselves in a position where their military is able to take over Taiwan over our intervention,” National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Haines and Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who testified about worldwide threats to US national security, discussed China’s lessons learned from the war in Ukraine and the international response to it.

Haines said she did not think the war was likely to hasten China’s plans for Taiwan. Berrier said it was not Beijing’s best choice to use the military to achieve its goal.

“I think China (People’s Republic of China) would rather not do it by force. I think they would rather do this peacefully over time,” Berrier said.

China learned “some very interesting lessons” from the Ukraine conflict, including the importance of leadership and tactics for small units, as well as effective training with the right weapon systems and a strong non-commissioned officer force, Berrier said.

U.S. officials had to work with their partners in the Indo-Pacific and Taiwanese leaderships, Berrier said, “to help them understand what this conflict has been, about what lessons they can learn, and where they should focus their dollars on defense and their training.

“They basically have a conscript strength. I do not believe it is where it should be,” Berrier said of Taiwan.

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Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Idrees Ali, Patricia Zengerle; Edited by Nick Macfie

Our standards: Thomson Reuters trust principles.

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