China lags in Taiwan invasion ambition and US needs to take advantage, expert says

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley this week highlighted comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping in which he laid out a timeline to achieve the capability — not intent — to invade Taiwan by 2027. The comments first surfaced in a speech Xi gave to the People’s Liberation Army in 2021, during which he challenged his army to accelerate its modernization. 

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby on Friday addressed the 2027 timeline, painting a broad-strokes picture in which China needed to improve its offensive, power projection, access denial and other capabilities. 

“They’re trying to accumulate standoff capabilities to prevent other militaries, including the United States, from physical access to whatever territorial claims they might make,” Kirby said. “So it’s a combination of these kinds of capabilities that I think we’re watching both offensive and access denial capabilities.”