The Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee believes that China may be able to take over Taiwan without firing a shot. The assessment follows a number of recently reported aggressive military maneuvers by Beijing off the coast of Taiwan.
The warning came from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) during an interview on NBC News Sunday. According to the Republican, the concern centers around former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.
Ma visited China on the first such visit since Taiwan lost the Chinese Civil War to the communists under Mao Zedong in 1949.
The former president said that the current Taiwanese leadership under President Tsai Ing-wen “continues to lead Taiwan to danger. The future is a choice between peace and war.”
Ma, who heads the nation’s Kuomintang Party, desires closer ties to Beijing. McCaul believes that China will aid the party in the upcoming 2024 election.
McCaul described Beijing as “nervous” about a potential invasion of Taiwan.
Instead, he said that “one party wants to talk to China. President Tsai’s party does not want to be a part of China.”
Tsai is not seeking a third term in office next year, but the current Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te plans to run on the Democratic Progressive Party ticket. The Kuomintang has not determined who will represent it in the general election.
The news comes as China launched a number of military maneuvers off the coast of Taiwan following Tsai’s visit to the United States last week.
Tsai met with a number of American officials, including Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
During the exercises, China simulated striking targets on Taiwan and deployed an aircraft carrier. The exercises also included dozens of aircraft and bore similarities to a potential invasion of the island.
91 Aircraft and 12 Naval Ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy and Air Force conducted their 3rd Day of Drills in which they approached the Median-Line between the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan with some crossing the Line resulting in the “Scrambling” of Taiwanese Aircraft. pic.twitter.com/irtjl3rZgp
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) April 10, 2023
Beijing claims Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, which has led to several crises in the Strait of Taiwan which separates the two nations.
China recently announced a 7.2% increase in its defense budget, continuing a trend toward the expansion and modernization of the People’s Liberation Army.
China is now spending $230 billion on defense. The United States spent approximately $800 billion on defense in 2022, a 2% increase from 2021.