U.S. Joint Cheifs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that It’s unlikely that China would make a move on Taiwan within the next two years. Milley’s comments came amid growing agitation in the region and the U.S. promises that it would back Taiwan against Chinese aggression.
The General was asked on Wednesday whether he thought China was going to make a move on Taiwan anytime soon.
“Based on my analysis of China, I don’t think that it is likely in the next, near future being defined as the next six, 12, maybe 24 months … Having said that, though, the Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building a capability to provide those options to their national leadership if they so choose at some point in the future,” Milley said at the Aspen Security Forum.
“But near future, probably not – but anything can happen.”
Milley further emphasized the need for increased communications “because part of deterrence is having the capability to impose costs on your opponent, and making sure that you have the political will to actually use it. But also, a third piece of deterrence [that’s] really important – is clear, unambiguous communications between both sides.”
He added that “there’s no question” the U.S. has the ability to defend Taiwan.
“We absolutely have the capability to do all kinds of things around the world, to include that if required,” he said. “We absolutely have the capability. There’s no question about that.”
The White House seemed to back off from statements President Biden previously made about defending Taiwan from a Chinese attack. Those remarks were criticized for how they measured up to the U.S.’s long-standing “strategic ambiguity” in its would-be response to an attack.
A White House spokesperson said that no changes were being made in U.S. policy toward Taiwan, which they said “is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act.”
“We will uphold our commitment under the act, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” the spokesperson added.