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China unlikely to try seize Taiwan in near future: top U.S. general

ROC Central News Agency

06/18/2021 06:49 PM

Washington, June 17 (CNA) The top United States general claimed it was unlikely China would seek to seize Taiwan by force in the near term, saying on Thursday he saw "little intent" Beijing planned to pursue such a course of action.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley was asked at a Congressional hearing whether China would try to take control of Taiwan by force.

"There's little intent right now, or motivation, to do it militarily," Milley responded.

"There's no reason to do it militarily, and they know that. So, I think the probability is probably low in the immediate, near-term future," he said.

His comments followed recent warnings by some officials and lawmakers from the U.S. and Taiwan of a possible annexation of the island by China.

The Chinese government, however, has accused U.S. defense officials of hyping up China's military threat to boost its military budgets and achieve its own political gains.

Beijing says it wants to eventually peacefully unify with Taiwan, but it has not renounced the use of force to achieve the goal of re-unification.

Both Milley and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told American lawmakers that the Taiwan issue is a core national interest of China and unification with Taiwan remains Beijing's goal.

However, Milley estimated that China currently does not have the necessary military power to launch an invasion of Taiwan.

"I think China has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability to conduct military operations to seize through military means the entire island of Taiwan, if they wanted to do that," he said.

Meanwhile, Austin said the U.S. government remains committed to helping Taiwan maintain its defense capabilities by providing arms sales according to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which has served as the foundation for Taiwan-U.S. relationship after the severing of diplomatic ties in 1979.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Teng Pei-ju)

Enditem/AW



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