Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden last month that Beijing will seek to reunify with Taiwan while noting the timing is unclear, and China prefers to assume control of Taiwan peacefully, according to reports yesterday. Xi's comments came during a summit in San Francisco—meant to reduce tensions between the US and China (see overview)—and mark the first time he directly conveyed China's stance on Taiwan to Biden.
China and Taiwan have had strained relations since 1949; Beijing views Taiwan as part of China, while the self-governing island maintains it is a sovereign nation. The US has long adopted a neutral stance on Taiwan's sovereignty while being committed to ensuring Taiwan has resources to defend itself (the US, for the first time, approved $80M in military aid to Taiwan in August).
US military officials have predicted China may attempt to take Taiwan as soon as 2025, and analysts appear uncertain about Taiwan's military readiness for a potential invasion. China has increased military exercises around Taiwan this year, with a record daily number of warplanes circling the island.