The United States has reportedly intensified its preparations to evacuate American citizens residing in Taiwan, according to The Messenger. These plans have been in progress for approximately six months, but they have gained momentum over the past couple of months, as disclosed by a senior U.S. intelligence official to The Messenger.
This development comes after Taiwan’s air force took action by scrambling fighter jets when ten Chinese warplanes crossed the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait. Additionally, the defense ministry of Taiwan stated that four Chinese warships conducted combat patrols in the area.
The senior U.S. intelligence official informed The Messenger that the evacuation preparations were driven by a “heightened level of tension.” The official highlighted the increased forces and the alignment between China and Russia regarding the situation in Ukraine as contributing factors.
The sensitive nature of the topic has led the Taiwanese government to maintain secrecy surrounding the evacuation planning. Discussing an evacuation plan could raise concerns among the public, even if it is just a prudent measure, stated a former State Department official.
Experts agree that evacuating Americans from Taiwan would present numerous challenges due to the country’s geography and the potential influx of other foreigners seeking evacuation. The limited transportation routes on the island and the possibility of congestion in tunnels pose logistical hurdles.
According to The Messenger, the planning for the evacuation began after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting a reassessment of existing plans.
While the Department of Defense stated that a conflict in the Taiwan Strait is not imminent or inevitable, some U.S. officials have suggested the possibility of an invasion in the coming years. However, other officials and experts cast doubt on China resorting to military force in its goal to “reunify” with Taiwan, as reported by The Messenger.
As of 2019, there were over 80,000 Americans living in Taiwan, underscoring the significance of these evacuation preparations.