Saturday, January 23, 2021

Why Taiwan Doubts US Commitment Of Protecting The Island Nation From The Clutches Of China?

The flourishing military partnership between the United States and Taiwan has somehow helped the Island nation withstand Chinese belligerence while bolstering its defensive capabilities.

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While the rise of the self-governed island has been commended by many, it has invited the wrath of China’s People Liberation Army (PLA), which considers it a “renegade province”, waiting to be reunified with the Chinese mainland.

With growing pressure from Beijing, who has left absolutely no stone unturned in indicating that it’ll go to war to recapture it, Taiwan wants the US to put its money where its mouth is, and clarify its commitment to Taipei’s cause against the expansionist policy of China.

Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, who became representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington this year, stated that Washington’s stance should be apparent at a time when tensions are rising high in the South China Sea region.

“We need some degree of clarity (from the United States),” said Hsiao while speaking to Today’s WorldView.

China has ramped up military exercises in the Taiwan Straits, with the PLA carrying out daily incursions inside Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) since September 16.

A video footage was aired by the PLA which displayed a simulation involving an invasion of Taiwan along with a purported confession from a Taiwanese businessman who is claimed to be a spy by the Chinese.

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However, while Hsiao thinks that China is not preparing for a “full-scale military attack”, he wants a sense of clarity due to the uncertain nature of the scenario.

“There is a risk of accident or miscalculation. There needs to be a clear position that military force is not tolerated and that there are multiple stakeholders in the region that want to jointly assure stability and peace,” said Hsiao.

Hsiao’s views have been echoed by Richard Haass and David Sacks, who while writing an article for Foreign Affairs, said – “The United States should adopt a position of strategic clarity, making explicit that it would respond to any Chinese use of force against Taiwan.”

Moreover, according to Captain Walker D. Mills of the US Marine Corps, the United States while already aiding Taiwan militarily should think of stationing US troops in the island nation to counter Beijing’s threat.

Writing an article “Deterring the Dragon: Returning US Forces to Taiwan”, published in the US Army professional journal, Mills said – “The United States needs to recognize that its conventional deterrence against PLA action to reunify Taiwan may not continue to hold without a change in force posture.

Deterrence should always be prioritized over an open conflict between peer or near-peer states because of the exorbitant cost of a war between them, If the United States wants to maintain credible conventional deterrence against a PLA attack on Taiwan, it needs to consider basing troops in Taiwan.”

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