“I think we need to be prepared to think about the unthinkable,” Abbott said Friday at the Wilson Center event. Defense News, Saturday (30/10/2021).
“I think it’s very likely that at some point, maybe in the near future, China will up the ante, either with a blockade of the so-called rebel provinces to teach Taiwanese that they… need to make some kind of accommodation with Beijing or even a full-scale invasion, ” he said.
Abbott earlier this month made geopolitical waves when he accused China of being a nuisance and expressed enthusiastic support for Taiwan while visiting the democratically self-governing island.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has stepped up military repression of the island by flying fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a trend Abbott said he expects will become more intense.
Abbott views Chinese President Xi Jinping as encouraged by the West’s mild reaction to China’s takeover of Hong Kong. Unlike Hong Kong, he said, Taiwan would offer military resistance, but still needed outside support.
“In the absence of support from others, Taiwanese may perceive it as an unequal and ultimately hopeless struggle. And that’s why I think it’s important for our fellow democracies Taiwan to give all the solidarity that we can,” Abbott said.
US President Joe Biden had raised the alarm about Beijing earlier this month by saying the US was firmly committed to helping Taiwan defend itself in the event of a Chinese attack. Although the White House later played down the statement, Abbott said he was “encouraged” by Biden’s comments and that there was a wider “rhetorical escalation” from the West.