October 13, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10260

Su Chi, Chairman Of Taiwan-Based Think Tank: China Will Reunite With Taiwan Within Five Years, We Cannot Rely On The United States

October 13, 2022
China | Special Dispatch No. 10260

On October 6, 2022, the Taipei Forum Foundation, a Taiwan-based think tank, held a forum on Taiwan's security titled "How About the U.S. Capability To Protect Taiwan? – Let's See What Americans Say."[1] The forum was moderated by Tsai De-sheng (蔡得胜), a director of the foundation and the former director-general of Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB).[2]

Su Chi (苏起), the Taipei Forum Foundation's chairman and the former secretary-general of Taiwan's National Security Council, spoke at the forum. He spoke about how long it may be before China forcibly "reunites" with Taiwan, he criticized the Taiwanese government for lobbying in the U.S. for the Taiwan Policy Act, and he spoke about the obstacle posed by American domestic politics to U.S.-China negotiations.

Su Chi, former secretary-general of Taiwan's National Security Council

The Deadline For Chinese Invasion Is 2027, And The Taiwan Policy Act Pours Fuel On The Fire

At the forum, Su Chi said that the five years between 2022 and 2027 are the "most dangerous" for Taiwan,[3] for two primary reasons. First, it would not be possible for the U.S. military to grow strong enough to effectively defend Taiwan in such a short time. Second, these five years will be Chinese President Xi Jinping's third term, and he will need to "resolve" the Taiwan issue in order to secure the necessary political support for a fourth term in 2027.

Su Chi said that due to the volatility of this time period, it is imperative that Taiwan and the United States do not take any action that would give China an excuse to invade Taiwan, and he criticized the recent Taiwan Policy Act, saying that it constitutes such an excuse. He said that American politicians are motivated by their own interests in passing the act, and that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen's government has been acting "unwisely" by lobbying Washington to pass the act and by getting U.S. politicians fired up on the subject. He elaborated that the Tsai Ing-Wen government is acting irresponsibly, since getting both the U.S. and Taiwan fired up enough may provoke the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) into finally deciding to invade Taiwan.

He also said that U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's recent visit could have constituted such a provocation, as well as the renaming of Taiwan's Representative Office in the United States and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's second visit to Taiwan.

In addition, Su Chi warned that Taiwan's presidential election will heat up in 2023, and that the Taiwanese people must be "careful" and pay "special attention" to developments.

China Has Its Own Calculations Regarding When To Invade

Su Chi said that there are two primary factors involved in China's calculation of whether to invade Taiwan or not. The first factor is the overwhelming economic sanctions it is likely to face as soon as it acts, and the second is whether it will properly be able to manage and rule Taiwan once it conquers it.

Regarding the first concern, Su Chi said that the U.S. sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine can be regarded as a "rehearsal," from which Beijing has learned and calculated the economic impact of invading Taiwan.

Su Chi explained that the latter concern is more pressing for the Chinese government, since ruling Taiwan would be far more difficult than ruling Hong Kong. He speculated that the CCP is probably not yet ready to invade Taiwan, but that it has been rolling out new slogans and strategies regarding Taiwan.

Su Chi pointed out that these strategies may have already been distributed to Chinese Embassies throughout the world, as may be evidenced by a recent statement by China's Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, regarding the "re-education" process that would follow reunification with Taiwan.

U.S. Internal Strife Harms China-U.S. Mutual Trust

Su Chi said that the Tsai Ing-Wen government cannot fix the current situation, and he instead placed his hope in negotiations between China and the United States. However, he said that the disunity in the U.S. government and the wide gap between the Democratic and Republican parties makes it seem as if there are no "adults" in the room. He also said that U.S. President Joe Biden cannot be relied on to effectively coordinate negotiations with China, nor can he be relied on to fulfill any promises he makes to China. He said: "Taiwan has placed its destiny in the hands of such a messy big country and lives in a bubble of dreams." He also said: "Taiwan has entrusted its destiny in the hands of the wrong people."

By contrast, he said that China's stance on Taiwan is united and resolute, and that the Chinese government "can only count on itself" to resolve the Taiwan issue.

In addition, Su Chi said that he will have even lower expectations from the U.S. if former U.S. President Donald Trump makes a political comeback in 2024.

"The U.S. Will Not Come To Our Aid"

In addition, Su Chi warned: "I have said it very bluntly: The United States will not come to our aid." He speculated that the U.S. is too far away from Taiwan to respond in time to a Chinese invasion and that the U.S. would not be willing to pay the price for supporting Taiwan in the event of an invasion.

He maintained that Taiwan has to think about whether it has become a pawn of the United States like Ukraine did, but he added that unlike Ukraine, Taiwan is an island, and its people cannot easily escape to other countries as refugees. Therefore, he said, Taiwan must be more savvy than Ukraine in navigating its current situation. He said: "I think that a political solution to the Cross-Strait issue is much better than a military settlement. As Taiwan is so tiny, it cannot solve the problem simply with its courage. Wisdom is more important."


[1], October 8, 2022.

[2] The forum was also attended by Morris Chang (张忠谋), the founder and the former chairman and CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

[3] Senior U.S. military and intelligence officials also estimate that by 2027, at the latest, Beijing will use military force to impose "reunification" with Taiwan.

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