China can attack Taiwan, ex-envoy warns

Written by By Hannah Waddingham, CNN

In his capacity as Chair of the United States-Taiwan Council of the Asian Council on Crisis Situations , former Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for North Korea Policy former Ambassador Bill Richardson said on “The Message” Saturday that any Chinese aggression against Taiwan would have “terrible consequences”.

In response to a question from CNN’s Sanna Hu about the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Richardson cautioned that any future conflict would be fought hard.

“The Chinese military reserves the right to set up a military post anywhere on Taiwan — including in the mountains — in order to protect their right to do so.”

“You don’t necessarily get territorial sovereignty in any war,” he said. “In the past, Taiwan was able to count on US bases in the Philippines and other places to go to.”

“You would get a tough fight, in any case, but I would expect it to be fought with massive air power — a lot of combat power by US aircraft — but having said that, Taiwan has a culture that is very resilient.

“Anyone who has lived there for a while can appreciate the patriotic, emotional side of the place, the very strong tradition of democracy, and as many Taiwanese call themselves ‘one people’ — it’s a very unique place.”

A top Pentagon official recently told the Washington Post that China is trying to expand its military capabilities in the hopes of taking over Taiwan.

In a statement the news outlet says was attributed to US Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris, officials said China is “progressing rapidly toward a readiness level at which they could commence a military invasion of Taiwan within a year.”

In response to the Pentagon’s claim that China has a 5-to-1 military advantage over Taiwan, the US State Department’s Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the US will use all “tools at our disposal” to defend the country.

“The United States will not stand by while China undermines international peace and stability,” Nauert said, in reference to a “more assertive” China.

If China comes to attack Taiwan, the top of her priority will be “to prevent the conflict from escalating and giving China a clear strategic advantage over the United States,” Richardson said.

“I know many people on the Hill would think this is a wild-eyed dream. It’s not,” he added.

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