China could gain control of Taiwan in the next election in January “without a shot fired,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on April 9 on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“Well, they don’t want a military confrontation. We certainly don’t want that,” McCaul responded after he was asked whether a military confrontation between China and Taiwan is inevitable.
In 2020, China’s ruling communist party imposed its “national security law” on Hong Kong, which authorized local authorities to detain and arrest people on wide-ranging national security charges. The move was made in the aftermath of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
That was a “wake-up call for the people of Taiwan,” McCaul said, noting that it helped secure President Tsai Ing-wen’s reelection.
“Putin’s invasion in the Ukraine” was also an eye-opener, according to McCaul.
“It woke up the Taiwanese people that now you’re seeing what we haven’t seen since World War II, and that is dictators invading sovereign territory and getting away with it,” he said.
Taiwan is “very nervous” that Chinese leader Xi Jinping could tell his rubber-stamp congress that he wants to integrate Taiwan under Beijing’s rule, McCaul said.
“Now there’s a political debate here with [Taiwan’s] two different parties. One party wants to talk to China. President Tsai’s party does not want to be a part of China. And I think the next elections next January are going to be extremely important because I do believe with the former President Ma in China right now, China’s going to try to influence this next election and take over the island without a shot fired,” he said.
Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou traveled to China for a 12-day visit at the end of March.
On April 5, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and a bipartisan group of legislators met with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
A day before that summit, the Chinese Embassy in Washington implored the U.S. lawmakers to not attend the meeting.