TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese scholar predicts that Xi Jinping (習近平) will seek to annex Taiwan within the next five years as the Chinese leader calls on his nation's military to "step up preparations for war."
On March 10, Chinese state-run mouthpiece the People's Daily cited Xi as stating that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People's Armed Police must become "combat ready" to protect national sovereignty and security. "The entire army needs to strengthen its performance so as to do a good job of ensuring a good start to the 14th Five-Year Plan and of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the party," proclaimed Xi.
Xi, who as the head of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Central Military Commission is the commander-in-chief of all China's military forces, claimed that in 2020, the PLA had "strengthened military training and preparations for war..." He then stated that preparations for a war footing should continue: "We should persist in using combat to guide our work, step up preparations for war..."
That same day, Radio Free Asia cited former Tsinghua politics professor Wu Qiang as saying that Xi is "likely planning to make a definite move to annex," or in CCP parlance "unify," with Taiwan "in the next five years." Wu claims that his contract with the university was not renewed in 2015 because of his interactions with foreign media and refusal to "write propaganda extolling the virtues of Mr. Xi and his policies," reported Australia's ABC News.
Wu warned that during Xi's third term as chairman, "Beijing is looking at speeding up a resolution of the Taiwan issue." He predicted that over the next five years, this "will become the most important story in the Western Pacific."
The scholar cautioned that the issue will "trigger changes in Sino-U.S. relations sooner rather than later," and this will become a "flashpoint for Sino-U.S. conflict." Wu asserted that Taiwan is the "core goal of the national rejuvenation program by 2035."
Wu claimed that Xi is using the current session of the National People's Congress to foster "political mobilization towards this goal."
Before a hearing of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held March 9 to review the Defense Authorization Request for 2022 and future defense programs, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, stated that China's highly aggressive behavior over the past year appears to show it is accelerating its timeline to "supplant the United States." The admiral then warned that he believes that China could make a military move against Taiwan within the decade: "in fact, within the next six years."