China's drills look like 'rehearsal' for invasion of Taiwan: US admiral

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral Samuel Paparo said in an interview with Nikkei Asia in Tokyo on Wednesday that China's recent military exercises around Taiwan “look like a rehearsal” for an invasion.

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According to Taiwan News, days after Lai Ching-te was sworn in as Taiwan's president on May 20, China on May 23 launched a two-day military exercise that encircled Taiwan in what it called “punishment” for so-called “separatist acts,” CNN reported.

Adm. Samuel Paparo became the top military officer at the Indo-Pacific Command in early May and oversees the day-to-day operations of U.S. joint forces in the region.

In addition, Paparo said, “the U.S. government entrusts me with the responsibility to be prepared today, tomorrow, next month, and next year in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act,” which details how the U.S. will help Taiwan enhance its self-defense strategies and capabilities.

He also stressed that the US defense forces closely monitored and analyzed these Chinese exercises. He also said, “We watched it. We paid attention to it. We learned from it, and it helped us prepare for the future.”

Paparo said if a shootout breaks out in the region, he is confident the U.S. and its allies and partners “will prevail in the conflict.”

When asked about the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Paparo stressed, “The important thing is that [China’s] He warned that Beijing continues to “build capacity at an alarming rate.”

The report further states that Japan will establish a joint operations command within the Self-Defense Forces by 2025, which is set up to coordinate between the US and Japanese military. The operations command will be responsible for facilitating joint operations.

Regarding rising tensions in the South China Sea, where Chinese vessels have been harassed by Philippine Navy ships, Paparo said, “We are monitoring the situation, and we are ready to assist our treaty ally, the Philippines.” He also said the Netherlands, Italy and Germany would increase deterrence in the South China Sea through efforts such as sending ships.

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