A retired Chinese military general known for his strong nationalistic views claimed Beijing's army could take control of Taiwan in 100 hours.
The provocative statement from Lt. Gen. Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Command, comes less than a week after China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailed through the Taiwan Strait after concluding exercises in the South China Sea.
Beijing has been increasingly vocal in its criticism of Taipei since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump exchanged an unprecedented phone call not long after his win.
On Tuesday, Wang told state tabloid Global Times that Beijing could "unify Taiwan [by force] in less than 100 hours, if it can block the western Pacific and surround the battlefield from the interior."
Wang also gave high marks for the Liaoning, while claiming the Liaoning's carrier strike group and Beijing's Xian H-6K strategic bomber can be deployed from Chinese territorial waters located about 200-300 miles from Taiwan.
Wang was referring to the same maritime region from where two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups, the Carrier Group Seven centered on the USS Nimitz, and Carrier Group Five centered on the USS Independence, were present during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis.
The operation described by Wang would include the deployment of the Liaoning, which could arrive on the shores of eastern Taiwan within 24 hours, then complete a takeover of the island in 100 hours.
"When you want to strike Taiwan, you don't need a sword that captures a cow," Wang said. "A knife to cut vegetables is enough to catch a chicken."
But Tsai Ming-yan, a professor of international politics at Taiwan's National Chung Hsing University Institute of International Politics, said Wang is "overestimating the capabilities of his military," according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
"China's naval operations are not as strong as he thinks," Tsai said.