Taiwanese citizens are petrrified their island democracy will one day be annexed by communist China, Professor Steve Tsang of SOAS University London told Express.co.uk. He warned Beijing could use a chaotiic US 2020 election result as a “once in a thousand years opportunity” to invade Taiwan, while the US was pre-occupied.
Prof Tsang said: “Before Xi Jinping dies or loses power he intends to take Taiwan.
“He has installed himself into power in China as leader for life.
“He will attempt to take Taiwan as a long term ambition, rather than in the short term.”
Speaking about an all-out military conflict between China and Taiwan, Prof Tsang declared it “would not be easy”.
He said China would pay a high price to cross the Taiwan Strait and would need to land the bulk of the People’s Liberation Army on the island in order to solidify control.
He said: “You cannot force a medium-sized power like Taiwan into capitulation unless you get boots on the ground.”
The SOAS warned China, however, could exploit a “once in a thousand years” event that could be used to gain Taiwan: a narrow defeat for Donald Trump in the US election, which could spark a huge appeal and protests.
Prof Tsang said people in Taiwan are concerned China will invade and assume Beijing will eventually gain control of the democratic island.
He added: “There is no question that President Xi will one day do it.
“This will possibly happen in the next 20 years.
“He is leader for life so he will be in his late 80s, but it is one ambition that he must achieve before he quits power.”
Recently China deployed a massive 40,000-ton Type-075 assault carrier, which President Xi could one day order his forces to “invade” Taiwan with.
The ship is equal in size to France’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the Charles De Gaulle.
The advanced attack ship will be able to release helicopter, drones and hovercraft assault ships from beyond the horizon if Beijing were to implement an attack on the island democracy of Taiwan.
The deployment of the ship has further escalated tensions between China and Taiwan and has raised again the fear that President Xi Jinping may be planning to answer the “Taiwan question”, the forced reunification of the island with the Chinese mainland. It comes as an expert warned that China will “one day” invade Taiwan.