Milley Says US ‘Absolutely’ Can Defend Taiwan From China

The general doesn't think China will invade in the near future

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that the US military “absolutely” has the capability to defend Taiwan from China, although he does not believe a Chinese invasion will happen anytime soon.

While the US regularly has warships and warplanes operating near Taiwan, defending the island from a power like China that is only 110 miles away would be a tall order for the US military. But Milley said there is “no question” that the US would be up to the task.

Despite the obvious risk of nuclear war involved in the US defending Taiwan, the idea is becoming increasingly popular in Washington, and tensions are soaring over the issue.

Milley said he doesn’t foresee a Chinese invasion of Taiwan happening within the next few years. “Based on my analysis of China, I don’t think that it is likely in the near future — being defined as, you know, six, 12, maybe 24 months, that kind of window,” he said.

Milley’s assessment is similar to what officials in Taipei are saying. Taiwanese National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong recently said there is a “very low” probability of a war with China within the next year. Chen said barring any major events, he doesn’t see any problems with China “in the next one year, two years, or three years.”

Western media has been portraying an invasion of Taiwan as an imminent threat and has been hyping Chinese flights in an area Taipei claims as its air defense identification zone (ADIZ). But an ADIZ is not a country’s airspace, and the Chinese warplanes have not been operating anywhere near Taiwan’s coast.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.