Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, October 17, said the Chinese regime plans to annex Taiwan on a “much faster timeline” under Chinese leader Xi Jinping than previously expected.

The Hill reported that Blinken made the comments at an event at Stanford University with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Speaking at the event, Blinken noted that the Chinese communist regime and Taiwan had maintained stability across the Taiwan strait for decades. However, Beijing has switched to a coercive approach.

He said, “Instead of sticking with the status quo that was established in a positive way, a fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline.”

Blinken continued, “and if peaceful means didn’t work, then it would employ coercive means and possibly if coercive means don’t work, maybe forceful means — to achieve its objectives. And that is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions.”

Blinken’s comments come just several days after Xi’s opening speech at the Chinese Communist Party congress, claiming that the “wheels of history are rolling on toward China’s reunification” with Taiwan. Xi also stressed that the regime would “reserve the option of taking all measures necessary” for the reunification.

Blinken also warned if the situation around Taiwan Strait became a crisis, it would be a “profound concern to countries around the world.”

He said, “The amount of commercial traffic that goes through the Straits every day and has an impact on economies around the world is enormous. If that were to be disrupted as a result of a crisis, countries around the world would suffer.” 

Taiwan, with the official name the Republic of China, was the losing side of the Chinese civil war between nationalists and communists in 1949. It moved to Taiwan at the time and still considers mainland China part of its territory.

On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China has repeatedly claimed Taiwan as a part of its territory and threatens to unify the island by force if necessary.

The U.S. has maintained the so-called one-China policy regarding the Taiwan issue, officially recognizing the communist regime. However, it also holds unofficial relations with the self-ruled island and vows to provide Taiwan with military equipment in the event of Beijing’s invasion.

Recently, President Biden has repeatedly said that U.S. forces will defend Taiwan if China invades the island.

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