The US “has the ability” to defend Taiwan

Washington, United States | US Chief of Staff Mark Milley said Wednesday that the United States has “absolute capacity” to defend Taiwan against China if necessary.

• Read also: China calls on the United States to keep its promises on Taiwan

Asked during an Aspen Security Forum think-tank conference about the short-term risk of China’s attack on Taiwan, the top US official estimated it was “unlikely” in the next 24 months.

“However, the Chinese are clearly and unequivocally building the ability to give options to lead the country if they wish in the future,” he added.

In response to a question about whether the United States is able to defend the island located less than 200 kilometers from the Chinese coast, he stressed: “We certainly have the capabilities, there is no doubt about it.” But he added that the United States above all wanted a “peaceful solution” to any dispute between Taiwan and China.

The US chief of staff was careful not to comment on the usefulness or non-reversal of a long-standing US policy known as “strategic ambiguity,” under which Washington helps Taiwan build and bolster its defense, but without explicit promises of an advance to aid it in the event of an attack.

“That’s our policy now, and it will continue for now,” he said.

The expressions of arms multiplied in recent weeks between the United States and China about the fate of this island of 23 million people, which has its own government, currency and army, but Beijing considers it one of its provinces awaiting reunification with the rest of the countries. country, by force if necessary.

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In response to a question about the possibility of US military intervention to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack from China, President Joe Biden answered last month in the affirmative: “Yes, we have an obligation in that direction,” if he stated so.

These words seemed to contradict the “strategic ambiguity” of the United States, and the White House subsequently ensured that its policy toward Taiwan did not change: the United States since 1979 has recognized communist China, at the expense of Taiwan, but at the same time the US Congress mandates the supply of weapons to the island for its defense .

General Milley considered the rise of China to be a destabilizing factor for the planet.

“We are entering a three-polar world, with the United States, Russia and China as great powers,” he said.

With three players instead of two, he added, “we have more complexity.” And with the advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence, hypersonic missiles, and the militarization of space, “we are entering a world that, in my view, is likely to be more strategically stable” than it has been for the past 60 years.

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