1125: China Attacking Taiwan Would Be a Strategic Mistake; Chinese Secret “Police Stations” in U.S.

Chinese Attack on Taiwan Would Be a Strategic Mistake: Top U.S. General

An attack on Taiwan by the Chinese military would be a political and strategic mistake as bad as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley warned on November 16.

“Most of Taiwan is a mountainous island. So it’s a very, very difficult military objective, a very difficult military operation to execute,” General Milley told a joint Pentagon news briefing with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin following a meeting on the latest developments in Ukraine.

“I think [a Chinese attack on Taiwan] would be unwise. It would be a political mistake, a geopolitical mistake, a strategic mistake similar to what the strategic mistake is that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has made in Ukraine,” he added.

The top U.S. general was asked if he was concerned that Chinese President Xi Jinping might make an ill-advised or ill-informed attempt to take Taiwan by force now that he has consolidated his power over the Chinese Communist Party.

Milley said he believed Xi would make decisions based on what he thinks is in China’s national interest.

“I think he evaluates things on cost, benefit and risk, and I think that he would conclude that an attack on Taiwan in the near future would be an excessive amount of risk, and it would end in a strategic debacle for the Chinese military,” he added.

Milley said the U.S. was watching the situation closely and that “one of the keys now is to make sure that Taiwan can defend itself, and there are a lot of lessons learned coming out of the Ukrainian war.”

He said Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which has stalled in the face of unexpectedly strong resistance from Kyiv fortified by weapons from the West, offers vivid lessons. “One of the things people are learning is that war on paper is a whole lot different than real war,” he added.

Milley noted that China’s military had not seen combat since fighting the Vietnamese in 1979, adding it would be a dangerous game to cross the Taiwan Strait and invade the island of Taiwan.

He believed it could be some time before the Chinese were capable of a military operation to take Taiwan.

Milley said that while the Chinese People’s Liberation Army could easily open an assault on Taiwan with bombs and missiles, physically capturing the mountainous, heavily populated island would be a “very difficult military task.”

“They would be playing a very, very dangerous game to cross the straits and invade the island of Taiwan. They don’t have the experience, the background to do it. They haven’t trained to do it yet,” he said.

Milley’s comments echoed his past remarks that while China might want to be ready for an invasion by 2027, its military is not ready yet.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/11/18/2003789152
[2] Japan Times: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/11/18/asia-pacific/us-general-china-taiwan/

FBI Director “Very Concerned” by Chinese Secret “Police Stations” in U.S.

The United States is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorized “police stations” in U.S. cities to pursue influence operations, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on November 17.

Safeguard Defenders, a Spain-based human rights organization, published a report in September revealing the presence of dozens of Chinese “overseas police service centers” in major cities around the world, including New York.

The report said these stations were an extension of Beijing’s efforts to pressure some Chinese nationals (especially, political dissenters) or their relatives abroad to return to China to face “criminal” charges.

It also linked such stations to activities of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s “United Front Work Department,” a body charged with spreading its influence and propaganda overseas.

“I’m very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations,” Wray told a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, acknowledging but declining to detail the FBI’s investigative work on the issue.

“But to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes,” he said.

Asked by U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) if such stations breached U.S. law, Wray said the FBI was “looking into the legal parameters.”

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Mike Waltz (R-FL), sent letters to the Justice Department in October asking if the Biden administration was investigating such stations and arguing they could be used to intimidate U.S. residents of Chinese origin.

Wray said the U.S. had made a number of indictments involving the Chinese government harassing, stalking, surveilling, and blackmailing people in the U.S. who disagreed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“It’s a real problem and something that we’re talking with our foreign partners about, as well, because we’re not the only country where this has occurred,” Wray said.

In October, the U.S. unsealed criminal charges against seven Chinese nationals accused of waging a surveillance and harassment campaign against a U.S. resident and his family in a bid by the Chinese government to repatriate one of them back to China.

It was the latest case by the Justice Department targeting China’s effort to track down people overseas who Beijing calls “criminal” suspects, known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”

[1] Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/fbi-director-very-concerned-by-chinese-police-stations-us-2022-11-17/
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/11/19/2003789216