US intel chief warns China is preparing Taiwan invasion

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US intel chief warns China is preparing Taiwan invasion

Top US intelligence officials warned Tuesday that China is “working hard” to ​carry out a military takeover of Taiwan — and Beijing is closely watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to gauge the level of America’s potential opposition.

D​irector of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat to Taiwan is “acute.”

​“It’s our view that they [the Chinese] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” Haines ​told the panel.

Haines and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier added that the US still doesn’t know what the Chinese may have gleaned from President Vladimir Putin’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, in which Russian forces have been largely stymied by fierce resistance from the Kyiv government.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat to Taiwan is “acute.”
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Members of special operations unit of China s Armed Police force participate in a comprehensive training exercise in Hezhou city, South China s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, April 14, 2022.
Members of special operations unit of China s Armed Police force participate in a comprehensive training exercise in Hezhou city, April 14, 2022.
© Costfoto/DDP via ZUMA Press
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) looks at a map of China
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) looks at a map of China as Avril Haines and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier testify before the Senate Armed Services committee on May 10, 2022.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier testify during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on May 10, 2022.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

But Berrier said China was learning “some very interesting lessons” from the Ukraine war, including the need for effective military leadership, small unit tactics and training with appropriate weapons systems — as well as the necessity of a professional noncommissioned officer corps, which Russia lacks.

Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to gain control of the island nation​ by force if necessary​. 

Haines said she believes the war in Ukraine, which began when Russia invaded on Feb. 24, will not likely accelerate China’s plans for Taiwan, and Berrier said China would rather not deploy its military.

A group of naval vessels from Russia and China conduct a joint maritime military patrol in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, in this still image taken from video released on October 23, 2021.
China is “working hard” to ​carry out a military takeover of Taiwan.
Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
12 F-16V fighter jets perform an elephant walk during an annual New Year's drill in Chiayi, Taiwan, January 5, 2022.
Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to gain control of the island nation​ by force if necessary​. 
REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo
Taiwanese military maneuver during the Urban warfare drill in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 06 January 2022.
Taiwanese military maneuver during the Urban warfare drill that simulates military response during an enemies attack amidst the rising military tension between China and Taiwan.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
Members of special operations unit of China s Armed Police force participate in a comprehensive training exercise in Hezhou city,
Beijing is closely watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to gauge the level of America’s potential opposition.
© Costfoto/DDP via ZUMA Press

“I believe the PRC [People’s Republic of China] would rather not do it [take over Taiwan] by force. I think they would rather do this peacefully over time,” he said.

Haines said China had been “surprised” at how quickly the US and Europe united to counter the invasion by enacting sanctions against Russia, “something they obviously will be looking at in context of Taiwan.”

She added that the course of events in Ukraine “may give them less confidence, in some respects, over what is likely to happen” during a potential invasion of Taiwan. ​

The US acknowledges China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan under the “one China” policy but has supported Taipei’s independence by providing arms for its defense.

Taiwan's Tuo Chiang-class corvette maneuvers during a Navy drill in Keelung, Taiwan
Taiwan’s Tuo Chiang-class corvette maneuvers during a Navy drill in Keelung, Taiwan.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
An airstrip made by China is seen beside structures and buildings at the man-made island on Mischief Reef at the Spratlys group of islands in the South China Sea are seen on Sunday March 20, 2022.
An airstrip made by China is seen beside structures and buildings at the man-made island on Mischief Reef.
AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Taiwanese military personnel on board M60A3 Tanks take part in a drill in New Taipei city, Taiwan, 16 September 2021
Taiwan last weekend had to scramble planes to counter 18 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, left, and his wife Lee Ching-yu attend a press conference on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Taipei, Taiwan.
Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che and his wife Lee Ching-yu attend a press conference on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Taipei, Taiwan.
AP

At the same time, China has increased its military presence in the region and has conducted military exercises near Taiwan, most recently last weekend, when Taiwan had to scramble planes to counter 18 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone.

Beijing said the exercises, involving naval and air force personnel, were intended to “further test and improve the joint combat capability of multiple services and arms.”

With Post wires

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