China under President Xi Jinping launched a programme in 2015 to make the country a leading power in football


  • Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher warned the U.S. that China's president has "aggressive designs" on Taiwan
  • China increased its military budget for 2023 by 7.2%
  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on China to step up capacity building in industries related to defense

A top House Republican has warned that China is "deadly serious" about taking Taiwan.

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, chair of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), told Fox News Digital that the recent increase in the Chinese military's budget is a "clear" sign that Chinese President Xi Jinping is hellbent on invading Taiwan.

"Xi Jinping has made it clear that he has aggressive designs on Taiwan, by force if necessary," Gallagher said in the interview Tuesday.

"As Xi yet again expands the People's Liberation Army's budget, it should be abundantly clear, especially in the aftermath of Ukraine, that he is deadly serious," he added.

Gallagher urged the Biden administration and the U.S.' allies to deter China's ambitions on Taiwan by providing resources to the Indo-Pacific Command and ramping up military equipment sales to the self-governing island.

The Wisconsin Republican argued it would protect the U.S.' domestic and overseas interests from China's "coercive economic tactics."

Gallagher's warning came after China announced a 7.2% increase in its defense budget for the coming year for the 2 million-member People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the CCP.

For 2023, the Chinese military's budget is 1.55 trillion yuan ($224 billion), nearly double the amount from 2013, the Associated Press reported.

This marked the eighth consecutive year of single-digit percentage point increases in the country's military budget.

In his report Sunday during the annual session of China's National People's Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on his country to increase capacity building in "science, technology, and industries related to national defense."

Li also boasted of the PLA's accomplishments in border defense, maritime rights protection, and the controversial zero-COVID policy.

Last month, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns revealed in an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation" that Xi has instructed the Chinese military to begin preparations for an invasion of Taiwan by 2027. But Burns noted that this doesn't mean that the Chinese president has already decided to attack the self-governing island that year or any other year.

The growing concerns about China's possible invasion of the island prompted the U.S. to bolster Taiwan's defense capabilities.

It was reported last month that the U.S. was sending up to 200 servicemen to the island to train Taiwanese troops on American weapons systems and military maneuvers. The additional troop deployment would mark the largest deployment of U.S. forces in Taiwan in decades.

The U.S. also approved the sale of $619 million worth of military weapons and equipment to the island, including missiles for its F-16 fleet.

The Department of Defense said the approved sale of military hardware included 200 anti-aircraft Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 100 AGM-88B HARM missiles.

However, a Pentagon official said he does not believe China will invade Taiwan this decade.

Dr. Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told a forum that any attempts of China to attack Taiwan would not succeed if the U.S.-led deterrence in the region remains "strong."

During Xi Jinping's decade-long rule, China has built the world's largest navy, revamped the globe's biggest standing army, and amassed a nuclear and ballistic arsenal to trouble any foe