Bangkok – Beijing softened the rattling of sabers after sending a record number of military planes to harass Taiwan to celebrate China’s founding anniversary, but for the same rhetoric behind the exercises However, tensions remain high.
Experts agree that no direct conflict is likely at this time, but as the future of self-governing Taiwan becomes more and more casks, accidents and miscalculations occur while the ambitions of China and the United States are in conflict. It can lead to conflict.
China aims to bring its strategically and symbolically important islands back under its control, and the United States sees Taiwan in the context of a broader challenge from China.
“From a US perspective, the concept of competition between great powers with China is driving this,” said Henry Boyd, a UK-based defense analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The need to confront China is a powerful motivator that not participating in this battle is also considered a betrayal of US national interests.”
China claims Taiwan as its own country, and controlling the island is an important element of Beijing’s political and military thinking. Prime Minister Xi Jinping once again emphasized over the weekend that “national unity must and will certainly be achieved.” This is a goal that has become more realistic with the significant improvements in the Chinese military over the last two decades.
In response, the United States has increased its support for Taiwan and is more broadly focused on the Indo-Pacific region. “It’s also very clear that we are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan,” U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price emphasized on Tuesday that U.S. support for Taiwan was “steady.” Stated.
Washington’s long-standing policy was to provide Taiwan with political and military support, but did not explicitly promise to protect Taiwan from Chinese attacks.
Both were probably closest to the blow in 1996. Frustrated by what it saw as US support for Taiwan, China decided to bend its muscles through exercises such as launching missiles in waters about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Taiwan. Coast ahead of Taiwan’s first popular presidential election.
The United States responded with its own show of force and dispatched two aircraft carrier groups to the region. At that time, China retreated because it had no aircraft carriers and had few means of threatening American ships.
Suffering from this episode, China embarked on a major overhaul of its army, and 25 years later, it significantly improved its easily counterattack missile defense and equipped or built its own aircraft carrier.
According to a recent report to the Pentagon’s Congress, in 2000 China’s army was rated as “a fairly large but almost archaic army,” but today it is a rival and some, including shipbuilding. It has already surpassed the US military in that field. Currently, there is the largest navy in the world.
Counting ships is not the best way to compare abilities. For example, the US Navy has 11 aircraft carriers and two from China, but in the event of a dispute over Taiwan, China can deploy almost the entire navy. Boyd, co-author of the IISS Global Army’s Annual Military Balance Assessment, said he also has land-to-ship missiles to add to combat.
“China’s operational concept of Taiwan limits the number of people they can participate in combat if they can delay US participation in combat, or because we can hold their forward assets at some risk. If they can, they can beat the Taiwanese before the Americans show up with enough power to do anything about it, “he said.
Taiwan’s own strategy is a mirror image, delaying China enough time for the United States and its allies to exert their power. It has significant military power in its own right and has the advantage of fighting at home. Recent policy documents also point to the need for asymmetrical measures that may include missile attacks on ammunition in mainland China and fuel dumping.
China already has the ability to block Taiwan’s ports and airports, according to an assessment of China’s capabilities by Taiwan’s defense sector, submitted to Parliament in August and obtained by the Associated Press, but is currently on a large scale. Lack of transportation and logistical support for joint landing operations. It is improving day by day.
In a new strategic guidance policy last week, US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro identified China as the “most important” long-term agenda.
“For the first time in at least a generation, we have strategic competitors who have naval capabilities comparable to us and are willing to hire their troops to challenge US principles, partnerships and prosperity,” the newspaper said. rice field.
China sent a record 149 military aircraft in a strike group formation in southwestern Taiwan on the National Foundation Day weekend earlier in the month. Although it is an international airspace, it was sent to the buffer zone of the island, and Taiwan competed for defense.
China announced on Monday that it had conducted beach landing and assault training in a state on the mainland directly opposite Taiwan.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the government’s Taiwan secretariat, said Wednesday that the “Taiwan independence army” had been collusion with “foreign forces” and justified action as necessary.
Hoo Tiang Boon, Coordinator of the China Program at the S. Rajaratnam Graduate School of International Studies in Singapore, said: Do anything about it, and the danger is that there is a possibility of miscalculation or accident. ”
Taiwan and China split in 1949 during the civil war, and Mao Zedong’s Communists came to power, causing Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang to flee to the island.
In the 2019 Defense of Japan, Beijing advocated “peaceful unity of the country” (a word Xi repeated over the weekend), but said its goals were clear.
“China will have to meet again and will meet again,” the newspaper said. “We do not promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option to take all necessary steps.”
Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wrote in the latest edition of the foreign affairs magazine: “If Taiwan collapses, the consequences will be devastating to the regional peace and democratic alliance system.”
“Failure to defend Taiwan will not only be devastating to Taiwanese, but will also overturn the security structure that has enabled peace and extraordinary economic development in the region for 70 years,” she wrote. ..
US law helps Taiwan maintain its defense capabilities and requires that threats to Taiwan be treated as a matter of “serious concern.”
Washington recently acknowledged that U.S. special forces are on the island with training capabilities and is stepping up multinational operations in the region as part of its stated commitment to the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” .. Earlier this month, an exercise was included off the main island of Okinawa in Japan, involving 17 ships from six navies from the United States, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand.
Washington signed an agreement last month in collaboration with the United Kingdom to provide Australia with a nuclear submarine. This has said China “has a serious impact on regional peace and stability.”
“Americans are trying to attract allies on the United Front,” Fu said. “The Taiwan issue is becoming more internationalized.”
Neither army feels fully prepared for the conflict over Taiwan at this time, according to Boyd, but it may not be their decision in the end.
“It won’t depend on the army, it will depend on the politicians,” he said.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee of Washington and Huizhong Wu of Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.
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Taiwan’s tension raises fears of US-China conflict in Asia
Source link Taiwan’s tension raises fears of US-China conflict in Asia