The former head of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command — known for his assessment that China may attack Taiwan by 2027 — has underscored the threat by Beijing, saying that a conflict scenario could include assaults on small, outlying islands held by Taipei, an overlooked potential flash point.

Speaking during an interview with The Japan Times in Tokyo on Wednesday, retired Adm. Philip Davidson noted that his March 2021 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee had focused on the possibility of any conflict — even smaller than a full-fledged invasion — involving the self-ruled island.

“When I was asked about this in 2021, at the Senate hearing, I was asked not about an invasion of Taiwan. I was asked about any potential conflict with Taiwan,” he said. “What does that include? In my mind, that can be many lesser things than an all-out invasion. One of those would be the threats to outer islands, and I think it's a grave security concern of Taiwan's.”