General Mike Minihan of the U.S. Air Force issued a note to his officers last month advising them to be ready for a US-China battle over Taiwan in 2025.
In response to 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships operating close as part of Beijing's campaign to unnerve and frighten the island, Taiwan is now scrambling for fighter jets, putting its navy on notice, and activating missile systems.
Minihan, who is in charge of Air Mobility Command, has extensive knowledge of the Chinese military, and his personal comments reaffirm U.S. recommendations for more thorough preparations.
Chinese military leaders in the U.S., Taiwan's main ally, are extremely concerned about Beijing's increased preparations for a possible blockade or outright war on Taiwan. Beijing's large-scale deployment aligns with this concern.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry reported that 20 Chinese aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait's central line on Tuesday (Jan. 31), which has historically served as an unofficial buffer zone between the two sides, which split during the civil war in 1949.
The vast majority of Taiwanese are opposed to being under the control of China's totalitarian Communist Party, while China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be taken by force.
Taiwan's military "monitored the situation ... to respond to these activities," the Defence Ministry announced on Wednesday.
China has dispatched warships, bombers, fighter jets, and support aircraft into Taiwanese airspace almost daily, intending to deplete the island's limited defense resources and erode support for pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen.
In what Beijing has characterized as risky and provocative actions, Chinese fighter jets have also engaged military aircraft from the US and its allies across international airspace in the South China and East China seas.
Recent trips to Taiwan by a number of international politicians, notably former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other EU representatives, sparked shows of military prowess on both sides.
China conducted war maneuvers around the island and launched missiles over it into the Pacific Ocean in reaction to Pelosi's visit in August.
China has regularly threatened to take action against states that support Taiwan's independence, but its intimidation tactics have caused a backlash in public opinion in the U.S., Japan, Europe, and other countries.
Men's compulsory military service is also being prolonged from four months to one year, and public opinion polls show strong support for higher defense spending to meet China's threats.
Taiwan will have presidential elections next year, in contrast to China's system of complete rule by president and party General Secretary Xi Jinping, who has removed term limits to effectively make him leader for life.