No official response to alleged Chinese plans to invade Taiwan

2017/10/04 17:48:22
No official response to alleged Chinese plans to invade Taiwan

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has made no response to claims by a China affairs analyst that China will invade Taiwan by 2020, a Presidential Office spokesman said Wednesday.

Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said the administration has no comment on Ian Easton's "The Chinese Invasion Threat," nor does it have anything to say about the validity of the sources mentioned in the book.

Lin said only that the Ministry of National Defense has the strictest surveillance and grasp of the actions of China's military, and asked the public to rest assured that the ministry can guarantee the country's safety.

In Easton's book, published Oct. 3, the analyst from the think tank Project 2049 Institute wrote that "the People's Liberation Army considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission, and it is this envisioned future war that drives China's military buildup."

Easton goes on to describe in great detail the PLA's plans calling for massive missile attacks on Taiwan, along with a naval and air blockade followed by amphibious beach landings using up to 400,000 troops.

All of these details come, according to Easton, from internal documents of the PLA that he was made privy to.

Although the government has made no official response, lawmakers of both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) have weighed in on the matter.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) called Easton's claims the research of an academic, noting that the timing of such an attack is not as precise as the analyst would like his readers to believe.

According to Lo, such an invasion of Taiwan would be more a political decision than a military one, so even if the PLA is ready, it does not mean that the Chinese government is ready.

Nonetheless, Taiwan has long been preparing with military drills and surveillance for attacks from China, Lo continued.

KMT Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) took a wildly different stance, saying that an attack from China could all come down to timing.

Whereas in the past, as long as Taiwan did not declare independence and no third party intervened in cross-Taiwan Strait matters, an invasion from China would be unlikely, it now seems that it is only a matter of time before an attack from China becomes imminent, she said.

What is important is that we can no longer afford to think and operate as we have in the past, the lawmaker said, describing Taiwan and China's relationship in the past as that of "two children competing."

Now, with China's status as a global leader and its military and economic developments, Taiwan remains the child, but is now dealing with an adult, Ma said.

Therefore, it would be a mistake for Taiwan to continue to navigate cross-strait relations as it has in the past, he concluded.

Cross-strait relations have taken an icy turn since Tsai took office in May last year. While the alleged invasion of Taiwan is scheduled for 2020 -- the year of Taiwan's next presidential election -- it might just be a coincidence, since Easton claims in his book that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) told Communist Party of China leaders of the planned attack in 2012, back when Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT was still president.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Chen Chun-hua and Kuan-lin Liu)
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