The US military has all the necessary capabilities to defeat China in case of a military invasion of Taiwan and if a respective political decision is made, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during a congressional hearing on Thursday.
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“If you’re talking about a military invasion of Taiwan [by China], crossing the Taiwan Straits with a sizable military force to seize an island … that’s an extraordinarily complex and difficult operation. But I can assure you that we have the capabilities if there were political decisions made in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and so on,” Milley told the US Senate Armed Services Committee.
Milley pointed out that China and Russia are two main threats to US security from the military standpoint with Beijing being the number one threat and Moscow remaining a considerable great-power competitor.
Earlier in the day, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there is a need for a direct communication line between the United States and China to prevent any accidents in the Indo-Pacific region which can lead to a large-scale conflict between the two powers.
In another incident that provoked tensions between China and the US, three U.S. senators visited Taiwan on a U.S. military aircraft (U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III) which Beijing termed as a “vile political provocation” that was irresponsible and dangerous.
The three senators, Tammy Duckworth, Dan Sullivan and Christopher Coons, visited the capital of Taiwan – Taipei where they met President Tsai Ing-wen and announced the donation of 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
US Warship Passes Through Taiwan Straits
Earlier in May, the US had sent the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Curtis Wilbur through the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate its commitment to free navigation in the region, the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) said.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows,” a command press release read.
In 2020, the United States operationally challenged 28 different excessive maritime claims by 19 different nations, the Defense Department said in a recent report.
Many of the challenges target Chinese claims, especially in the South China Sea, the northern portion consisting of a 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.
China said it was deeply concerned by the US Navy destroyer passing through the Taiwan Strait, Air Force Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, the spokesman for the Chinese army Eastern Theater Command, said on Wednesday.
“The USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) sailed through the Taiwan Strait on May 18 and hyped it publicly. China is firmly opposed to it,” Zhang said.
According to Zhang, the United States sent an “erroneous signal” to those who support the idea of independent Taiwan, destabilizing the regional situation.
Zhang added that China’s troops conducted the tracking and monitoring of the US ship, and stands ready to respond to any threats and provocations.
China considers Taiwan a rebel province and routinely protests whenever US warships transit the strait, as in April, following a similar voyage by the destroyer John S. McCain.