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Increasing sail-throughs and flyovers of the disputed Taiwan Strait by the U.S. military appear to have caused Beijing to reevaluate its timeline for "reunification" with Taiwan.
National People's Congress Deputy Li Yihu announced this week, "The [Communist] Party's overall strategy for resolving the Taiwan issue in the new era has basically taken shape, and the strategic goals and focus of the future reunification cause have also become very clear."
"The mainland will promote national reunification on a fast development track," he added, noting that the annual National People's Congress meeting will begin on March 5.
The announcement of the hastened timeline comes after a provocative visit to Taiwan by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August and the announcement of several weapons packages by the Biden administration. Current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is also planning a visit to Taiwan in the near future.
Li cited an "extraordinary" year for tensions in the region along with escalating global events as factors for the shift in China's timeline. Li, who is dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Peking University, called 2022 an "extraordinary" year for tensions between China and Taiwan and noted that the events of that year would "have a certain impact on the future direction" of the relationship between the two nations.
It is likely that Li was also considering the war in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion and the comparisons that U.S. officials and other leaders have continuously made between the Ukraine and Taiwan situations.
Beijing dismisses the comparisons and continues to insist that Taiwan is under Chinese sovereignty. China has also taken the position that the comparisons between Ukraine and Taiwan are offensive.
While Chinese President Xi Jinping has long spoken of a Chinese plan for peaceful unification with Taiwan via political means, Beijing has continued to harass the island with sail-throughs and flyovers, sometimes with convoys of 70 or more aircraft multiple times a day for months.
It is unclear how much Washington's pushing beyond China's "red lines" have influenced the timeline for "reunification" and the means for doing such. It is clear, however, that China is shifting to become a more assertive and aggressive force in the world by way of the Taiwan conflict.
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Give Taiwan some small tactical/battle field nukes. That will end the Chinese threats once and for all.