Zhang made this statement during an interview with Brannon Howse on his Worldview Report program, "Worldview Radio with Brannon Howse." According to Zhang, it is possible that China wants to launch an invasion by the end of 2024 due to it being an election year. (Related: Biden commits to sending American troops if China invades Taiwan.)
"I think it will be around the earliest … I just think that the timing would work out really well, will be around the 2024 presidential election in the United States," he said. "Because that's when you have instability in terms of switching administrations, or if you have a second Biden administration, but I think that will be a good time."
Zhang added that 2024 is also an election year for Taiwan, with the island nation's presidential election scheduled before April 2024. Current President Tsai Ing-wen, who has positioned herself as an opponent of Beijing and against unification with the mainland, is ineligible for a third term due to term limits.
A recent war game report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted that China is still woefully unprepared for an invasion of Taiwan. According to the think tank's report, if the U.S. and Japan militarily backed Taipei, the invasion would fail – but it would come at a high cost for all parties involved.
In the report, titled "The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan," CSIS experts noted that a military alliance between Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan could defeat a "conventional amphibious invasion by China" and maintain the island nation's independence.
Unfortunately, such a defense would come at the cost of "dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft and tens of thousands of service members." In most scenarios run by the CSIS wargaming team, the U.S. lost approximately 3,200 troops, two aircraft carriers and between 10 to 20 large surface ships.
China, however, would also suffer heavy losses, with some 10,000 troops killed and 155 aircraft and 138 major ships destroyed. Japan is also predicted to lose at least a hundred aircraft and dozens of ships.
The CSIS report noted four factors that need to be met to defeat an invasion: First, Taiwanese forces must not capitulate. Second, the U.S. must bring troops to defend Taiwan. Third, the U.S. must take advantage of its military bases in Japan and use them for combat operations. Fourth and last, the U.S. must be willing to strike the Chinese fleet quickly to grind down the communist nation's capability of landing soldiers in Taiwan.
Zhang noted that 2024 is only the earliest possible date for a Chinese invasion, and it could come as late as 2027.
"I think we're looking at the later half of this decade [for an invasion date]," he said. "That's when things will start to go bad, especially if we're considering the fact that if there's going to be a recession in the next six months because of bad policies, reckless spending and all that, I think the world will be in a different state than what we're seeing now."
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Watch this episode of "Worldview Radio with Brannon Howse" as he interviews Chinese journalist David Zhang on the possibility of China invading Taiwan as early as 2024.