TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says the next 12 months will be a very dangerous time for security in the Taiwan Strait.
McMaster, who served as an adviser under President Donald Trump, spoke at a roundtable with members of the international media at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. on Monday (Oct. 4), according to a CNA report. McMaster said developments must be watched closely, especially in 2022 after the Beijing Olympics and the communist party’s 20th party congress conclude.
He said Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) has become emboldened after facing few consequences from the international community over his brutal clampdown in Hong Kong. However, China also realizes the extent of Taiwan’s resilience and how the country is strengthening its defenses under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the retired U.S. Army general said at the gathering.
He added the U.S., Japan, Australia and other allies in the region must convince Chinese leaders and its military they cannot achieve their goals through the use of force. He also urged the U.S. and its allies to bolster its deterrence capabilities.
McMaster praised U.S. President Joe Biden’s AUKUS initiative, in which the U.S. will work with the U.K and Australia to counter Chinese aggression. He also said Japan should have an increased deterrent capability to protect its population.
Japan should not only be able to intercept missiles, but also be "able to strike the archer” with its own long-range precision ballistics.
McMaster said the U.S. and its allies are now in an arms race against China, which continues to build up its military at breakneck speed. He expects China will keep turning up the heat with provocations in the region, especially next year since Xi will likely continue as chairman for an unprecedented third term.
“It is a very dangerous time,” he said. “I think it is probably not the most dangerous time yet. I do think that 2022, as many people have pointed out, is a critical period.”