China unlikely to invade Taiwan this fall: intelligence chief
Taipei, March 24 (CNA) It is "highly unlikely" that China will invade Taiwan this autumn even though an alleged leaked document from Russian intelligence suggests that President Xi Jinping (習近平) is considering doing so, Taiwan's intelligence chief said in the Legislature Thursday.
"I believe this so-called leaked document is part of 'cognitive warfare' targeting Taiwan," National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) told lawmakers when asked to comment on the issue. He did not say whether this warfare had been launched by China or Russia, however.
Chen was at Thursday's Legislative session to brief lawmakers on Taiwan's national security contingency amid the latest geopolitical situation in East Asia.
As Beijing is scheduled to be holding the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) 20th National Party Congress this autumn, the CCP's main task is to maintain stability within its country, according to Chen.
This means it is extremely unlikely that China would launch an invasion of Taiwan during that time, Chen said.
According to media reports, the upcoming 20th National Party Congress will likely see Xi secure his third five-year term as CCP leader and prepare a reshuffle that could replace top CCP leaders.
Chen made the remarks when asked by lawmakers to comment on an alleged leaked document made public by Russian dissident Vladimir Osechkin last week.
According to the letter which Osechkin said was from an intelligence officer in the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Xi was "considering taking over Taiwan in the fall" of this year as "he needs his own little victory to get re-elected for a third term."
However, the letter claimed, "after the Ukrainian events, this window of opportunity has been closed to [Xi Jinping]" which now gives the "United States the opportunity to both blackmail Xi and negotiate with its competitors on favorable terms."
Asked about the same issue, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said last week that the government could not confirm the leaked document's authenticity, while stressing that the authorities were always ready to fend off Chinese invasion.
Taiwan's military, meanwhile, said it had no comment on the alleged leaked document.
In his legislative briefing, Chen also said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a wakeup call for the democratic world to be more alert to the threats posed by authoritarian countries like Russia and China.
However, unlike Europe and the United States that have an existing collective security system, namely, the NATO, the East Asian region does not have a similar mechanism and cannot mount a swift response if a war breaks out across the Taiwan Strait, Chen said.
During the hearing, Chen said the United States has its Taiwan Relations Act that commits to providing Taipei with the means to defend itself, which can serve as a legal basis for Washington to assist the island if Beijing invades.
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