Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the country’s military to develop the ability to take control of Taiwan by 2027, according to CIA official David Cohen.
The report comes amid escalating tensions between the two nations, as Beijing insists that Taipei is part of its territory and that it would be reunited “by force, if necessary.”
The CIA Deputy Director explained that the alleged order by Xi was meant to prepare the People’s Liberation Army so that he could do what he wanted with Taiwan in the future.
“He has not made the decision to do that, but he has asked his military to put him in a position where if that’s what he wanted to do, he would be able to,” Cohen said.
“It’s still the assessment of the IC (international community) as a whole that Xi’s interest in Taiwan is to get control through non-military means.”
Cohen’s remarks matched earlier statements from former US Commander Philip Davidson about a potential incident in Taiwan “in the next six years” aimed at unifying the island nation with Beijing.
It was also similar to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley’s statement last year that Xi might ask his army to accelerate its modernization plan “to capture Taiwan and to advance its completion from 2035 to 2027.”
‘Watching Very Carefully’
Cohen stressed that the US intelligence office is paying close attention to the lessons China might learn from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“We are watching very carefully how the Chinese are understanding the situation in Ukraine – how the Russians have performed, how the Ukrainians have performed, and the implications of that for their own plans as they may be in Taiwan,” he said.
In a report by The Hill earlier this year, top US intelligence officials claimed that Xi is monitoring Russia’s attacks in Ukraine and how the world is responding.
They also alleged that China is working hard to “effectively put themselves in a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention.”
Several Taiwanese Army reservists have admitted that they are unconcerned about large-scale Chinese drills but feel ill-prepared for war.