US officials are warning Americans to expect an “extensive” cyber attack from Beijing if China decides to move ahead with an invasion of Taiwan.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly vowed to support Taiwan with US troops – actual boots on the ground — in the event of such an invasion.
US infrastructure that could be targeted includes public transportation systems, American ports, power plants and water services, according to a report by Politico.
“If Xi Jingping moves on Taiwan, we should assume he’ll launch cyberattacks against the United States as part of the operation,” US Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), chair of the House Select Committee on China, told Politico in an emailed statement.
“This would likely include attacks on our electrical grid, water systems and communications infrastructure — especially near key military installations.”
China launched a series of military drills around Taiwan in response to what it called a “provocation” – the recent meetings outside Los Angeles between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy is the highest-ranking US official to meet with the Taiwanese leader on American soil since 1979, when the US established formal diplomatic ties with China.
Beijing recently held simulations of “joint precision strikes” on Taiwan during its military exercises around the island.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu condemned the war games in an interview with CNN, warning that China seems to be “trying to get ready to launch a war against Taiwan.
“The Taiwanese government looks at the Chinese military threat as something that cannot be accepted and we condemn it,” he said.
“If Beijing feared that a major conflict with the United States were imminent, it almost certainly would consider undertaking aggressive cyber operations against US homeland critical infrastructure and military assets worldwide,” affirmed the annual threats assessment by the US intelligence community.
According to that report, released this past February, “such a strike would be designed to deter US military action by impeding US decision making, inducing societal panic and interfering with the deployment of US forces.”