The commander of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, Admiral Samuel Paparo, on Monday, April 4, said that it is hard to ascertain when China would decide to launch an invasion of Taiwan, judging by Beijing’s open speeches.
According to South China Morning Post, Paparo said, “I think the window of a potential unification by force is highly, highly unpredictable,” adding that “constant vigilance” is important.
The 64th commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet noted that “many complex factors” affect Beijing’s decision to attempt to unify Taiwan by force, including its examination of the Ukraine crisis.
The commander said: “I think, to anybody that for somehow believes that we can take a breath or relax or relent on our own commitment to a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’… I would not support that because nature is so unpredictable.”
Paparo’s comment mainly referred to a prediction by then Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral Philip Davidson that Beijing could invade Taiwan “in the next six years.” Davidson projected the timeline on March 9, 2021, months before the Ukraine conflict broke out this February.
According to the U.S. Naval Institute, Davidson told lawmakers that “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order, which they’ve long said that they want to do that by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer”.
Davidson continued, “Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before then. And I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact in the next six years.”