Rep. McCaul predicts China will influence Taiwan's elections to take over 'without a shot fired'
"China's going to try to influence this next election and take over the island without a shot fired," McCaul said.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul predicted China will attempt to take over Taiwan without the use of military force by trying to influence the self-governing island's next election.
"I think the next elections in next January are going to be extremely important because I do believe with the former President Ma in China right now, China's going to try to influence this next election and take over the island without a shot fired," McCaul, a Texas Republican, said Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press."
McCaul was referring to Ma Ying-jeou, who became Taiwan's first former president to have visited mainland China since the Republic of China government fled to the island after losing a civil war against Mao Zedong's communists in 1949.
After his visit, Ma said the administration of his country's president, Tsai Ing-wen, "continues to lead Taiwan to danger. The future is a choice between peace and war," Reuters reported.
Tsai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, is far less pro-China than Ma, who was president from 2008 to 2016. Ma's Kuomintang Party, which is now in the opposition, favors close ties with the communist nation.
McCaul also said during the interview that he thinks Beijing will boost the Kuomintang Party in the 2024 elections because Chinese officials are too "nervous" to launch a full military invasion of the island after seeing the international blowback against Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.
"I think they're very nervous," McCaul said. "There's a political debate here. ... One party wants to talk to China. President Tsai's party does not want to be a part of China."
Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching‑te of the Democratic Progressive Party plans on running for Tsai's position as president, but it is unclear who the Kuomintang Party will nominate.