Taiwan is ill prepared for a Chinese invasion, though "they seem to be on that path," said former Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
"They seem to be on that path; that's a good thing. Washington is doing similar things with providing arms and additional training," he said Wednesday during an appearance on Bloomberg's "Balance of Power" podcast.
Esper, who served as U.S. defense chief under former President Donald Trump, traveled to Taiwan in July to discuss security and the island's relations with the U.S. and Europe. While there, he urged Taiwan to take the step of extending its compulsory military service for all eligible men to one year from the current four months to counter rising threats from China.
Taiwan on Tuesday said it would extend the period of mandatory military service, saying four months "can no longer suit the needs" of Taiwan's defense.
"Nobody wants war. The Taiwanese government and its people do not want it, nor does the international community want it. But peace does not fall from the sky," said Taiwenese President Tsai Ing-wen.
"We need to actively prepare for war to prevent war, and we need to be able to fight a war to stop a war."
Esper drew up a five-point plan for Taiwan to deter China: increasing its defense budget; adopting an asymmetric-warfare strategy; revitalizing reserve mobilization and building resilient infrastructure and telecommunications; and stockpiling energy supplies, food, and weapons.
China has become more aggressive toward Taiwan over the past year, and tensions between the U.S. and China were inflamed following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in early August.
"China threatens the entire geopolitical order in terms of what it wants to see, how it wants to overturn international rules of the road. So it's important that we all stand firm and present a solid defense against Chinese aggression," Esper said during the podcast.
He said the worst-case scenario — a Chinese invasion of Taiwan via water — is a "very, very difficult operation, and I don't believe the Chinese could pull it off at this point in time."
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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