US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

The United States is closely watching Chinese intentions towards Taiwan, concerned that Beijing's growing military prowess may increase the risk it could one day consider bringing the self-ruled island under its control by force, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles travel past Tian
FILE PHOTO: Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing

WASHINGTON: The United States is closely watching Chinese intentions towards Taiwan, concerned that Beijing's growing military prowess may increase the risk it could one day consider bringing the self-ruled island under its control by force, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The senior U.S. defence intelligence official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, did not predict that China's military, known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), would take such a step but said such a possibility was the top worry as China expands and modernizes its military capabilities.

"The biggest concern is that ... they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell Xi Jinping that they are confident in their capabilities," the official said, referring to China's president.

Pressed on whether the official was referring to Chinese confidence in its capabilities to be able to successfully win a battle with Taiwan, the official said, "Well, specifically that would be the most concerning to me."

Taiwan is only one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, including a trade war between the countries, U.S. sanctions on the Chinese military, and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: Reuters

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