When the head of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command claimed last month that China would be “ready” to invade Taiwan by 2027, he was merely the latest in a string of top U.S. intelligence and military officials to voice such concerns.

But defense experts both in Washington and Taipei argue that Beijing's military "readiness" to invade the democratic island is unlikely to hinge solely on its military modernization goals.

Just how prepared China's People’s Liberation Army will be three years from now will also depend on the combined — and growing — deterrence and defense capabilities of Taiwan, the United States and like-minded countries such as Japan, which could make it very difficult for the PLA to launch an invasion, let alone conduct a successful one.