Sun, 25 Sep 2022

The agency does not believe that President Xi is set on military action, however

CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said that Chinese President Xi Jinping wants his military to be capable of seizing Taiwan by 2027, according to a CNN correspondent. However, Cohen is reported to have said that the agency still believes China wants a peaceful reunification with the island. 

Cohen's statement was reported by CNN journalist Katie Bo Lillis, who herself said that Xi is not preparing for a certain invasion of Taiwan, but rather wants "the capability to take control of Taiwan by force."

"He has not made the decision to do that, but he has asked his military to put him in a position where if that's what he wanted to do, he would be able to," Lillis quoted Cohen as saying. "It's still the assessment of the [Intelligence Community] as a whole that Xi's interest in Taiwan is to get control through nonmilitary means."

Beijing has publicly stated that it intends to reunify Taiwan with the Chinese mainland by peaceful means. In a white paper published in August, the Chinese government affirmed this commitment to non-military means, but reserved "the option of taking all necessary measures."

Taiwan rejected the "one country, two systems" approach set out in the white paper, with Taipei stating that only the people of Taiwan would decide their future.

Taiwan has governed itself since nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949, after they lost the civil war to the Communists. The US government has officially recognized, but not endorsed, China's sovereignty over Taiwan since the 1970s.

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait reached a boiling point last month, following a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With Pelosi a member of US President Joe Biden's political party and second in the presidential line of succession, China considered the visit a tacit endorsement of Taiwanese independence, and responded by launching large-scale military exercises around Taiwan. US warships answered these drills by sailing through the strait, while Taiwan held military drills of its own.

At the time of writing, Beijing has not commented on the latest claims.

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