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05/05/2023 | In rare public comments, Taiwan spy chief points to 2027 as key in China’s plans

Joseph Fitsanakis

IN A SERIES OF rare public comments, the director of Taiwan’s primary intelligence agency has singled out 2027 as a year of paramount significance for China’s military plans for Taiwan. On Thursday, Tsai Ming-yen (pictured), director-general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (NSB) since February, spoke to an audience of graduating students at Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University in Taichung City.

 

According to reports, it was the first time in a quarter of a century that an NSB director-general had addressed a university audience.

In addition to his speech at the Chung Hsing University, Director-General Tsai, a former deputy foreign minister and diplomat, gave a rare interview to the United States-based Bloomberg news agency. He refused to weigh in on the ongoing discussion about a timeframe for a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. But he singled out the year 2027 as a significant one for Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s plans to modernize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The Chinese leader first introduced his “PLA Modernization 2035” plan in 2017, describing it as a whole-of-government effort to significantly improve the PLA’s combat capabilities as a step toward achieving China’s long-term goal of becoming a major global military power. Tsai pointed out that the year 2027 will be the 10-year mark into President Xi’s 18-year program of military reforms. Additionally, Xi will most likely be campaigning for a fourth presidential term that year, Tsai said.

In his interview with Bloomberg, Tsai said that President Xi “doesn’t allow any kind of different voice in the Chinese political system”. In essence, therefore, the Chinese leader has been surrounding himself with “a coterie of like-minded officials”. This resulting ‘groupthink’ means that “the risk of making a wrong decision” on pressing issues like Taiwan “will become much higher” in the coming years, he warned. To counter that threat, and to monitor China’s military intentions, Tsai said Taiwan is systematically deepening its real-time cooperation with its “international friends”, especially with the so-called “Five Eyes” alliance, an intelligence-sharing coalition comprising of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In a separate development, the United States Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Thursday that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (TSMC) would be a major cause for concern in a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The United States and other countries rely overwhelmingly on the TSMC’s production output for the use of semiconductors in civilian and military hardware. Should a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan prevent the TSMC from producing those semiconductors, the resulting impact on the global economy would be “enormous”, possibly in the neighborhood of “between $600 billion to $1 trillion on an annual basis for the first few years”, Haines said.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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