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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan 1st potential target of Chinese aggression: U.S. commander

ROC Central News Agency

03/11/2021 04:57 PM

Washington, March 10 (CNA) Taiwan could be the first potential target of Chinese military aggression in the next five to 10 years, a top U.S. military commander said on Wednesday.

Philip Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, made the comments in response to questions from Republican lawmaker Scott DesJarlais during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on national security challenges, including what he considers to be the most likely target of Chinese aggression or military action in the next 5 to 10 years.

"Given what they've said both publicly and over time, and certainly during the tenure of Chairman Xi Jinping, I would say Taiwan is the first," Davidson said.

A day earlier, the U.S. commander said Beijing's threats toward Taiwan could manifest in the next six years as China seeks to supplant the U.S. leadership role in the international order.

At the committee hearing in Washington, Davidson was also asked to express his views on how cross-Taiwan Strait relations have evolved over the past three years during his tenure as commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

He responded that China's revocation of its "one country, two systems" approach in Hong Kong alarmed Taiwan to an extent that during Taiwan's 2019 legislative elections, both the Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang had to voice their opposition to the "one country, two systems" approach.

"So it has steeled, I think, Taiwan's status in the region and I think all other nations in the region as well have noticed a very pernicious approach that China took to Hong Kong and that has put a chill on many relationships as well," Davidson said.

David F. Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, said the future of the U.S. is inextricably linked to that of the Indo-Pacific region.

"As our department's priority theater, we're committed to upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific region where all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty, can pursue economic opportunity and resolve disputes without coercion, and can exercise the freedoms of navigation over flight, consistent with an open and stable international order," Helvey explained.

The U.S. official said that today, this framework is being challenged by China, which seeks to use all elements of its national power to "reshape the world order into one that's consistent with its authoritarian model and its national goals," he said.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Ko Lin)

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