TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday welcomed the former head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, who warned the island could face an invasion from China this decade as Mainland China increases the pressure on itself. -ruling island.
Retired Admiral Phil Davidson, along with a group including colleagues from the US think tank, the National Bureau of Asian Research, arrived in the capital Taipei on Monday after a series of delegate visits to Taiwan. , which China claims as part of its territory, as tensions with the mainland escalated in August with the visit of then-US President Nancy Pelosi.
“I am here to listen and learn from our hosts; So far, I’ve done both,” she said. “I look forward to continuing our discussions with President Tsai today and hearing her perspective on the security environment and her perspective on US-Taiwan relations.”
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has increased its pressure on Taiwan in recent years, sending navy ships and fighter jets close to the island.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that 20 Chinese planes crossed the centerline in the Taiwan Strait, a longtime unofficial buffer zone between the sides, which fell apart during a civil war in 1949. It sent another 14 aircraft in nearby airspace.
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A day later, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 17 Chinese planes crossed the median line on Wednesday, with a total of 23 planes sent to fly around the island.
“Faced with the spread of authoritarianism, Taiwan must strengthen our defense capability,” he said, pointing to the upcoming extension of conscription he had just announced in December.
Tsai thanked Davidson on Thursday for his contributions to the “security of the Taiwan Strait.”
Davidson, while still serving as head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, had warned that China’s claims to Taiwan were a growing and tangible threat.
He clarified this comment while in Japan just before his visit to Taiwan, saying that the scenario would not necessarily be all-out war.
“In my opinion, that can be a lot less than an all-out invasion. One of them would be the threats to the outer islands, and I think that is a serious security concern for Taiwan,” he told the Japan Times.
AP Senior Video Producer Johnson Lai contributed to this report.
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