China expanding military and nuclear capabilities; likely to invade Taiwan by 2027

A top US admiral has issued a stark warning about China’s military and nuclear ambitions, indicating that Beijing is ramping up its military and nuclear capabilities to levels unseen since World War II.

Admiral John Aquilino, leader of the Indo-Pacific Command, testified before the US House Armed Services Committee, highlighting China’s readiness to invade Taiwan by 2027.

China’s Military Buildup and Ambitions

Despite economic challenges, China has significantly increased its defense budget, which now exceeds $223 billion, marking a 16% increase in recent years.

Aquilino reported that since he assumed command three years ago, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has bolstered its forces with over 400 fighter aircraft, more than 20 major warships, and has doubled its inventory of ballistic and cruise missiles since 2020.

“All indications point to the PLA meeting President Xi Jinping’s directive to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027,” Aquilino stated.

He highlighted the PLA’s rehearsal of various operations against Taiwan, including simulating encirclement tactics with maritime and air blockades.

Global Concerns and US Response

US lawmakers and officials have expressed growing concerns about Xi Jinping’s intentions regarding Taiwan, particularly in light of his goal for China’s military to become a “world-class force” by 2027.

The US intelligence community believes that while China is determined to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, it prefers to avoid military conflict.

Representative Mike Rogers, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, emphasized China’s significant military advancements, including the deployment of modern systems like hypersonic weapons and fifth-generation fighters.

He also highlighted China’s partnership with Russia, which has provided economic and security assistance for the invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan’s Response and Global Preparedness

Taiwan has detected increased Chinese military activity, with 32 Chinese military aircraft and five naval ships operating around the island in a 24-hour period.

Taiwan’s armed forces remain vigilant, employing patrol aircraft, Navy vessels, and coastal missile systems in response to these activities.

The US and its allies have been preparing for potential military conflicts between Taiwan and China in recent years.

Taiwan, a self-governing island with direct presidential elections, has been a point of contention, as China considers it a “sacred and inseparable part” of its territory.

(With inputs from Agencies)