Leading U.S. Navy Officer: China Might Occupy Taiwan in 2023

An admiral in the United States Navy issued a warning that China may attack Taiwan much sooner than was initially assumed. He claims the Chinese almost always keep their promises ahead of schedule. 

High Tension 

The warning was made on Wednesday by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday during his remarks at the Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense’s Commander’s Series.

These remarks were made after the historic 20th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, whereby Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a gloomy warning for the little island and ensured himself another term of absolute power in China.

At last week’s Party Congress, President Xi spoke harshly about Taiwan, calling for “reunification” and asserting the communist country is prepared to use force to accomplish it.

He even said, “We retain the choice of taking all initiatives necessary.” 

According to Admiral Gilday, “making sure the vessels we are deploying now are as prepared as they can be” is a top priority. He also mentioned Congress is considering a $27.5 billion construction budget. 

When asked what he thought of the communist party congress, Gilday replied, “That’s how the Chinese act and what they do.”

He noted, “What we’ve witnessed over the past 20 years is they have fulfilled on every pledge they made, earlier than they claimed they were going to deliver on it.” 

Since 1949, Taiwan has been ruled autonomously by China as the Republic of China. China’s “One China” policy considers Taiwan an integral part of the Chinese territory.

Per the Committee on Foreign Relations, 62% of Taiwanese respondents to a study conducted by National Chengchi University in 2021 identified as “exclusively Taiwanese.” In contrast, 32% identified as being both Taiwanese and Chinese. 

Biden and Friends

China’s constant provocation of Taiwan comes in response to the election of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, who advocates for Taiwanese independence from China.

China took a number of provocative actions after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, notably sending ships and planes into the Taiwan gulf and 21 of them into Taiwan’s air defense zone. 

U.S. policy toward Taiwan is stated by the Department of State as follows, “We oppose any unilateral change in the status order from either party; we do not advocate Taiwanese independence and we expect disparities to be handled by peaceful means.” 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “There has been a shift in policy from Beijing regarding Taiwan in recent years,” in a chat with former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and James Mattis early last week.

In his words, China is “pursuing unification on a much faster timeframe.” 

Last month, President Biden claimed in a “60 Minutes” interview that the U.S. military would support Taiwan if “there was an extraordinary attack,” a statement later retracted by the White House.