China seen unlikely to make status quo-changing Taiwan move for another decade

Honour guards wearing protective masks raise a Taiwanese flag at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. (Photo courtesy: Bloomberg)

(, Nov22’21) – While it is believed that China has the capability to overrun Taiwan, if it is just a matter between the two of them, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has said he does not foresee a Chinese military invasion in the next decade. However, he feels that China could seek to weaken the self-governing island’s status.

“I don’t expect an all-out attack on Taiwan in, say, a 10-year period, which is as far as I can see,” Kissinger said Nov 21 in an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a weekly feature.

Kissinger, 98, had also served as national security adviser and helped pave the way for then-US president Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to China. The visit resulted in the US switching its diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, to the People’s Republic of China, presently headed by the all-powerful President Xi Jinping. With it the membership seat at the UN, with its Security Council permanent membership, also moved from Taiwan to China.

Kissinger is still known for his close proximity with China’s top leadership.

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. (Photo courtesy: CNN)

China calls Taiwan a breakaway province to be retaken by force if necessary. This was a contentious part of the online talks between US President Joe Biden and Xi on Nov 16. The US has a commitment help Taiwan defend itself against external threats.

A Chinese Communist Party resolution passed recently, reflecting Xi’s agenda, advocated pushing for a union with Taiwan, although it stopped short of listing unification as a near-term goal. It prompted President Biden to reiterate his country’s commitment to Taiwan’s defence.

“We should have a principal goal of avoiding confrontation,” Kissinger said. Still, he said that it is “foreseeable” that China “will take measures that will weaken the Taiwanese ability to appear substantially autonomous.”

Apart from the US, Japan and Australia and possibly several other major powers are seen as countries China would have to reckon with in any plan to invade Taiwan whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party calls the democratic island a sovereign country already.

China’s red line on Taiwan is that it will not stand by should the island formally declare itself an independent country.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here