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Worried China might seize Taiwan sooner, Navy chief pushes readiness

By Megan Eckstein

Defense News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy has adopted a “fight tonight” mentality as both China and Russia grow more aggressive, the chief of naval operations said, meaning the service must become more ready and more lethal for a near-term conflict.


Adm. Mike Gilday said he stands by prioritizing readiness, then lethality and then growing the size of the fleet, but said during remarks at the Atlantic Council Wednesday the potential for a conflict with China in the next couple years makes it important to do all three.



Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week said China may act “on a much faster timeline” than previously thought, following a Communist Party congress in which Chinese leader Xi Jinping reportedly said China reserves the “option to take all necessary measures” to reunify with Taiwan.


The Pentagon said its policy toward China and Taiwan remains unchanged.

Gilday did not comment specifically on Xi’s remarks, saying “analysis is still ongoing.” But he noted “it’s not just what President Xi says, but it’s how the Chinese behave and what they do.”

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