Conflict in the Taiwan Strait: A senior US military official does not see war as inevitable and still wants to prepare for possible conflicts.

Conflict in the Taiwan Strait is not inevitable, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command deputy commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Sklenka emphasized recently. As Taiwan News reports, he expressed cautious optimism about avoiding war at Australia’s National Press Club.

In the conversation, Sklenka mentioned that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had previously called on the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan by 2027. Sklenka sees the need for appropriate preparatory measures. “If your opponent says he wants to be ready at a certain time, my personal philosophy is that I should also be ready when he is ready,” Taiwan News quoted the general as saying.

Sklenka was unable to give a clear answer to the question of whether Australia’s AUKUS submarines are part of the Indo-Pacific Command’s planning. AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States and was established in September 2021. The general pointed out that the decision on this would lie far in the future. Nevertheless, he emphasized that the US would share plans with Australia. But no one in the US expects the country to actively participate in a possible conflict, as these are national sovereign decisions.

The commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, warned back in March that China was seeking the ability to annex Taiwan by 2027. “Despite a weakening Chinese economy, there is a conscious decision to fund military capabilities,” Aquilino warned.

China has stepped up military activity around Taiwan following the inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on May 20, conducting military exercises near Taiwan and its remote Kinmen and Matsu Islands. These exercises are a punishment for “separatist forces that seek ‘Taiwan independence,'” China said.

Taiwan presidential office spokeswoman Karen Kuo described China’s military provocations as “regrettable.” “Maintaining regional peace and stability is a shared responsibility and goal for both sides of the Strait,” Kuo said, according to Taiwan News. Taiwan has the situation under control and will continue to stand up for democracy.

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