U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien says Taiwan needs to beef up its capability of fighting “any sort of amphibious invasion” from China.
“Taiwan needs to start looking at some asymmetric and anti-access area denial strategies and really fortify itself in a manner that would deter the Chinese from any sort of amphibious invasion or even a gray zone operation against them,” O’Brien said during a teleforum with the Aspen Institute.
The cautionary note from O’Brien follows an alert from the State Department to Congress that it wants to sell Taiwan a $2 billion coastal defense cruise missile package. U.S. intelligence officials think Taiwan will need the vessel to keep China at bay. Congress still has to review the sale.
“I’m pretty worried,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official. “It’s a serious problem right now, and it could get worse in the next couple of years. It’s a near-term problem.”
It’s unclear whether the United States would help Taiwan if it gets attacked by China, which has significantly built up its military presence in the region.
“In the eventuality of China actually trying something with Taiwan, do you believe that the U.S. will go out there and defend Taiwan?” an Indo-Pacific official said. “So this is the question being asked by many people.”