Media Mention: Council President Interview about the 2024 Taiwan Elections
As the election looks right now, about 8 or 9 days out, Lai Ching-te is maintaining his sort of 4-5-point lead over Hou You-yi. If we accept – for the purposes of our discussion this afternoon -that Lai Ching-te is, in fact, able to secure the presidency by a small margin, I don’t think China’s going to be happy about that.
[But] I don’t think it moves us closer to war. I think the Chinese have a strategy and an approach of which the military coercive angle is an important part, but it is certainly not the only part… I believe that the Chinese are going to continue to inject some patience because in the end, they believe they can absorb Taiwan without the high level of risk involved in a kinetic attack on the island.
I think the action of last resort for the Chinese Communist Party, Simone, is a full-scale D-Day style attack. [Because] the risks are so high, it isn’t just about defeat. I mean, even if there were a stalemate in the Taiwan Strait, I think it’s a near certainty that the U.S. and Japan would be immediately involved in the battle. So China would be fighting Taiwan, Japan and the United States, probably with support from the Australians, the British and maybe some other countries around the world too. But I think quickly we would be dealing with a situation like that.
But I think the possibility of a kinetic attack to resolve the differences between Beijing and Taipei is, let’s say, less than 10%. And for me, that’s pretty much close to zero at the moment. Over the next, let’s say, 3 to 5 years, I think we can possibly see, though, if there is an uptick, the Chinese can use their military in other ways short of a kinetic conflict. That would be highly problematic for the United States, Taiwan, Japan and others to deal with.