Admiral John Aquilino, who was recently nominated as commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command.
Sourced from the net by Tracy Cabrera
WASHINGTON DC, USA — China’s threat to Taiwan cannot be simply downgraded as invasion of the island country is serious and more imminent than many understand, according to a high-ranking official of the United States Navy who has been chosen to lead the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific region.
In recent developments, US Pacific Fleet officer-in-command Admiral John Aquilino said that there is no doubt that China is considering the recovery of control over Taiwan and this its ‘number-one priority.
Aquilino has been nominated to become commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command (Indo-PaCom) and in addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), he contradicted outgoing Indo-PaCom commander Adm. Philip Davidson’s belief that a Chinese invasion of China would still take a number of years before it comes to fruition.
“The rejuvenation of the Chinese Communist Party is at stake” with the Taiwan issue, the former commander of the United States Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces said to SASC even as he expressed disagreement that China could attempt to attack and take over Taiwan as soon as six years from now.
“My opinion is that this problem is much closer to us than most think and we have to take this on,” he told the committee panel, which was reviewing his nomination.
The strongly nominated Indo-PaCom commander explained that China’s threat was such that the United States needs to implement a proposed US$27 billion plan to boost US defenses in the region “in the near term and with urgency.”“The Chinese Communist Party has generated some capabilities in the region that is designed to keep us out,” he said.
200 Chinese militia vessels
Geopolitical and military onlookers in the Southeast Asian region agree with Aquilino’s observation, saying that recent reports about the presence of more than 200 Chinese militia vessels at Julian Felipe Reef—within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone—is a prelude to occupation similar to what could happen to Taiwan.
“The most dangerous concern is that of a military force against Taiwan,” Aquilino warned.
He declined, however, to comment on the suggestion by Republican senator Tom Cotton that Beijing could opt to attack Taiwan as early as next year. Cotton noted that Russia invaded and occupied Crimea in 2014 just days after it hosted the Winter Olympics. China, he noted, will host the Winter Olympics in February 2022.
Democratic and self-ruled Taiwan split from China at the end of a civil war in 1949 and is a longtime US ally. But despite its declared independence, Beijing has always maintained its claim of sovereignty over the island.
Aquilino, currently the head of the US Pacific fleet, stressed that there were two major concerns of letting China seize Taiwan: first is the potential threat to global trade, much of which passes the island, and the damage that would have on US credibility with its Asian allies like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.“The status of the United States as a partner with our allies and partners also is at stake should we have a conflict in Taiwan,” he said. (AI/MTVN)