World Fears of a Chinese attack on Taiwan are growing, and Taiwan isn't sure who would help if it happened
U.S. Calls for Taiwan to Join WHO Meeting, China Warns Against 'Separatist Activities'
"All 'Taiwan independence' elements who sell their national interests and split China will eventually be tried and liquidated by history," the Chinese government's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said.Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement Friday, arguing that "there is no reasonable justification for Taiwan's continued exclusion" from the World Health Assembly (WHA), an annual international gathering of just about every nation in the world set to take place on May 24. While Taiwan is viewed by the United Nations as part of China, the U.S.
- China has been expanding its influence and taking a more aggressive posture toward Taiwan.
- That has raised concerns that Beijing will attempt to retake the island by force.
- Whether the US and other countries would help, and what help they would offer, remains in doubt.
Twenty-five years ago, two US Navy carrier strike groups were enough to deter possible Chinese military action against Taiwan after Chinamissiles that landed a few dozen miles off its coast.
Man who 'crossed Taiwan Strait in dinghy' quizzed
A Chinese man apparently crossed the highly militarised waterway in a small rubber dinghy.The Chinese man, 33, told police he crossed the 100-mile (160km) stretch in search of "freedom and democracy".
Now, after a massive, known as the People's Liberation Army, or PLA, two carrier strike groups, and possibly US forces alone, .
This is especially daunting for Taiwan, as it is unclear if it can get help from anyone else if, or when, the time comes.
In March, Adm. Philip Davidson, then head of US Indo-Pacific Command,the Senate Armed Services Committee that China could invade Taiwan in the next six years.
A few days later, Adm. John Aquilino, Davidson's successor, declined to comment on that assessment butthat China views Taiwan "as their No. 1 priority" and that, in his opinion, "this problem is much closer to us than most think."
Who could help?
Taiwan's problem with finding friends isn't new. Since the 1970s, most countries have severed official ties with Taipei and instead recognized Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province.
US renews calls for Taiwan’s return to World Health Assembly as island aids India
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s team is renewing the Trump administration’s support for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly, citing the island democracy’s counter-coronavirus charity in defiance of the mainland Chinese regime. © Provided by Washington Examiner “Through donations & sharing of expertise we've seen firsthand throughout the Western Hemisphere that Taiwan has been a valuable partner in the fight against COVID19,” State Department acting Assistant Secretary Julie Chung’s team wrote on Twitter.
Today only 15 countries - none in Asia - recognize Taiwan as an independent sovereign state, though Taiwan does maintain unofficial diplomatic relations with many countries, including the US and most of its neighbors.
The countries in the best position to help Taiwan in an invasion scenario are Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. In addition to their proximity to Taiwan, they also have their own concerns about China's rising power.
Those countries have seen their relationships with China sour in recent years, but theyto intervene directly if Taiwan was invaded.
South Korea hosts some 28,000 US troops and the US's largest overseas military base, but it also worries about the threat from North Korea and the costs of a shooting war with China. Seoul is not even clear on whether it would allow US forces to use bases there for Taiwan-related operations.
Confidence in a stronger Taiwan-U.S. relationship
The Taiwan-U.S. relationship is “rock-solid” and indicative of the shared values and common interests we hold. It also reflects on the strong foundation of bipartisan support from Congress and across the American public. We echo Dodd's comments by saying that Taiwan is also a reliable and trusted friend of the U.S. We are confident that this relationship will continue to thrive in the years to come.Bi-khim Hsiao is Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made overtures to China since taking office in 2016 - that year, hehis country's "separation" from the US, saying he had "realigned" with Beijing - and continues to have a with the US.
Despite takingwith China in recent weeks , Duterte is still to confront Beijing.
Australia's government iswhether and how it could aid Taiwan in such a conflict, but Canberra has made no official declaration, and its distance from Taiwan would prevent a quick response.
Apart from the US, "you're probably talking about Japan by far being the most active potential participant," Zack Cooper, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Insider.
The Japan Self-Defense Force is quiteand is . Japan also hosts US troops, the largest forward-deployed US force in the world, and has its own with China.
Chinese man dodges two navies to cross Taiwan Strait by rubber dinghy in search of 'freedom and democracy'
A Chinese man crossed the highly-militarized Taiwan Strait in a small rubber dinghy Saturday in search of "freedom and democracy," Taiwanese police said.According to police captain Shih Chun-hsu, the man, surnamed Zhou, was spotted late Friday evening near the port of Taichung after crossing the roughly 80 kilometer (50 mile) stretch of water from Fujian province, on China's east coast.
Japan certainly has a lot at stake if Taiwan fell to China.
Chinesethat with Taiwan under Chinese control, "Japan's maritime lines of communication will fall completely within the striking ranges of China's fighters and bombers."
The documents note that 500 million tons of Japanese imports pass through Taiwanese waters, including 90% of its oil and 99% of its mineral resources. If blockades could reduce those imports by just 30%, the documents add, "Japan's economic and war-making potential will be basically destroyed."
Japan has recently beenabout Taiwan, but Tokyo has made no official statements about how it would respond to an invasion. Japan has a pacifist constitution, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has his recent expression of support in a joint statement with President Joe Biden "does not presuppose military involvement at all."
Japan is expected to play some role - in part because US bases in Japan are expected to play a role - but, according to Cooper, "the spectrum of activities is going to depend a huge amount" on the scenario.
"The range of actions are potentially very wide," Cooper said.
Taiwan fights to attend WHO meeting, but China says no
Taiwan fights to attend WHO meeting, but China says noThe rich-nation Group of Seven (G7) has called for Chinese-claimed but democratically-ruled Taiwan to attend the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, which meets from May 24.
A major factor is whether the PLA attacks bases in Japan. "I think in that case you'd see very close cooperation between the US and Japan to respond militarily and perhaps even to try and support Taiwan," Cooper said.
But it's not clear that Japan and the US have a plan for such a scenario or have even discussed one.
"That I think is in fact why the [US-Japan] alliance has to talk about this now," Cooper said. "We can't just assume that we know what either Washington or Tokyo would do in a crisis."
Taipei has its own doubts about Washington, as the US has also never officially committed to coming to Taiwan's aid if it was invaded.
While the US has sold high-end weaponry to Taiwan and the Biden administration has beenabout its support, the US maintains a policy of about defending Taiwan. That ambiguity has maintained the status quo, but it limits preparations to respond to an invasion.
While the US and Taiwanese militaries do conducttrainings and exchanges, there have been no large-scale joint exercises or permanent deployments since the US pulled out of its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1979.
The US does have military attachés in Taiwan, but the Pentagon doesn't send its highest-ranking officials there.
"They send very small groups of people to Taiwan," said Ian Easton, senior director at the Project 2049 Institute. "They don't stay there for very long. They don't learn the language. They don't develop a deep relationship with their counterparts."
Op-ed: China is stepping up its diplomatic bravado, testing how hard Biden will push back
United States officials reporting China has been going on the offensive during the first 100 days of the Biden administration. The Chinese are readier to push back against real and imagined slights from the United States and its allies, even as they escalate warnings and military activities around Taiwan.The new messaging from Beijing has been consistent: the Biden administration, in trying to undermine China's rise, is promoting a false and dangerous narrative of competition between democratic and autocratic systems.
This means that the US and Taiwanese militaries would struggle to coordinate in a conflict. It also means that top US military leaders will not have a full understanding of the battlespace.
"They're going to have to give military advice on a situation they're going to not understand very well because they've never even been to the country that they're talking about," said Easton, author of "The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan's Defense and American Strategy in Asia."
A need to prepare
The US's focus on high-end weapon sales and statements of support.
"We've been putting all of our eggs in the arms sales basket, and that's just not good enough," Easton said. "We wouldn't do that with any other ally. We would not do that with any other democracy ... that faces the threat of invasion and occupation from an authoritarian neighbor."
US officials have said that clarifying the US's ambiguity could led Beijing to feel it has to act.
"If we were to see a US shift from strategic ambiguity ... to clarity over willingness to intervene in a Taiwan contingency, the Chinese would find this deeply destabilizing," Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate in late April.
"I think it would solidify Chinese perceptions that the US is bent on constraining China's rise, including through military force, and would probably cause Beijing to aggressively undermine US interests worldwide," Haines said.
Critics of strategic ambiguity argue the best way to deter an invasion or ensure Taiwan survives one is to make it clear to China that such an action would be too costly. That would require countries in the best positions to help to make concrete plans for everything from basing rights and logistical support to direct military action, which many have avoided doing.
"We need to raise the saliency of this threat that we all face, because it's a common threat," Easton said. "We need to be ready to defend Taiwan, and we need our allies to be ready to support us as we do that."
Taiwan Bans Companies From Hiring Employees in China as Tensions Rise .
The notice is an extreme measure by Taipei to stop a drain of tech workers from the island to China, and goes as far as to subject violators to fines. It also bars recruitment agencies and head hunters from helping hire workers for positions in mainland China and specifically takes measures against valuable jobs involving circuits and semiconductors, an industry where Taiwan leads. "If the recruitment involves semiconductors and integrated circuits, the penalty will be even higher," the notice said, according to Nikkei Asia.