Wicker Questions Top Intel Official on Chinese Threat to Taiwan

Miss. Senator: “The United States Should Prepare Taiwan and Send a Clear Message to Beijing”

May 10, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today questioned director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lieutenant General Scott Berrier regarding the growing Chinese threat to Taiwan and how the United States can help deter Chinese aggression.

Wicker noted that the chief goal of U.S. military aid should be to deter Chinese military action in the first place instead of merely equipping Taiwan to deal with an invasion.

“I believe the United States should prepare Taiwan and send a clear message to Beijing that a military invasion would be too costly. I also believe the primary objective of the United States and its allies with regard to Taiwan should not be so much to repel a Chinese attack but to prevent it from ever occurring,” Wicker said. “So, General, from your assessment of China's capabilities and timeline, as well as Taiwan's current defensive posture, what needs to be done? What can the United States be doing for or supplying to Taiwan in order to prevent a Chinese attack from ever occurring?”

DIA Director Berrier said his assessment is that China would prefer to take Taiwan peacefully, and the United States should respond by training and equipping Taiwan with effective weapons.

“I believe the PRC [People’s Republic of China] would rather not do it by force. I think they would rather do this peacefully over time,” Berrier said. “There are some things that we can do with Taiwan. I think they're learning some very interesting lessons from the Ukrainian conflict, like how important leadership is, how important small unit tactics are, how important an NCO corps is, and in really effective training with the right weapon systems and what those systems, with the right people, would be able to do to thwart that.”

The exchange followed a recent op-ed written by Senator Wicker and former Senator Phil Gramm, R-Texas, last week published in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the United States should arm Taiwan with the goal of preventing a Chinese invasion.

Read the op-ed here. Watch the full exchange here.