Taiwan Daily Update

Taiwan can’t defend itself without US support

Lee, 6-16, 22, Eric Lee is Associate Director of Programs at the Project 2049 Institute, s War Really Coming to Taiwan?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/war-really-coming-taiwan-202984?page=0%2C1

Taiwan faces two categories of threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): coercion and invasion. Coercion, commonly referred to as gray-zone operations, is already occurring. Below the threshold of military conflict, Beijing is waging a multi-faceted coercive campaign against Taiwan that includes escalating incursions by PLA aircraft and naval ships into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and near its territorial waters. The CCP has used import and tourism bans to inflict pain upon Taiwan’s economy, and has orchestrated a sharp increase in cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns intended to manipulate hearts and minds in every pocket of Taiwanese society.

In recent weeks, the conflict in Ukraine has underscored the grim reality that coercion may get far worse, and the invasion scenario is the one that poses an existential threat. For the CCP, the annexation of Taiwan is central to its “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” This is nothing new: destroying the ROC government and conquering Taiwan has been the PLA’s core mission for decades. If coercion fails to induce capitulation, the CCP could launch a full-scale invasion to occupy Taiwan. Barring nuclear annihilation, this is the most dangerous scenario for Taipei. However, Taiwan’s military is arguably less prepared for an invasion than it is for countering coercion, and both threats are worsening.

China’s meteoric economic rise has allowed Beijing to invest heavily into a massive military buildup. After years of investment, the PLA today enjoys a growing qualitative and quantitative advantage over Taiwan’s military. China’s population is sixty times greater than Taiwan’s, and Beijing’s totalitarian system allows it to extract private resources to further military objectives. Given this disparity in both actual and latent capability, it is inconceivable that Taiwan could directly redress this imbalance. By 2027, the Chinese military could be capable of successfully attacking Taiwan, as former U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander Admiral Philip Davidson testified before Congress. Unless the United States plans to actually defend Taiwan, the PLA could be optimally positioned to invade as soon as 2025, according to Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng. How to effectively allocate limited material and time resources is a key issue.

For these reasons, the ODC focused primarily on the invasion scenario. It was a strategy for how Taiwan should effectively allocate limited resources to defend itself, exploiting PLA vulnerabilities to the point that the success of Beijing’s amphibious attempt would be in serious doubt. The ODC sought to integrate force buildup directly with its concept of operations. It stipulated that large, expensive weapon systems could be effective during peacetime against coercion, but that asymmetric weapons would be critical during war. Asymmetry is relative, and as perspectives and conditions can vary widely, a definition is essential. The ODC defined asymmetric defense capabilities for Taiwan as mobile, resilient, lethal, cost-effective, numerous, and survivable. As Taiwan has historically invested less in such asymmetric capabilities compared to conventional platforms, the ODC called for a greater emphasis on the former. But importantly, military investments were not considered a binary choice. Planners in Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense believe they need a mix of conventional and asymmetric capabilities. Both types of systems are important for Taiwan in the absence of assured security arrangements with the United States.

Taiwan’s defense architects envision a PLA attack starting with devastating missile strikes followed by an all-out amphibious invasion. They anticipate that this could occur regardless of whatever amount of punishment Taiwan is able to inflict on targets in China. Counterstrikes against critical military nodes (such as Chinese ports) are implied, as it would be both a strategic and operational mistake to sit back while the PLA mobilizes and loads its invasion fleet. Nonetheless, once the war starts, Taiwan could run out of long-range missiles within days, leaving Beijing free to choose the best time, place, and manner to launch its amphibious landing campaign.

Taiwanese units employing short-range weapons could hide during the first phase of missile strikes and maintain the capacity to strike back against amphibious landing platforms and other sea lift assets as they closed in on Taiwan. The most vulnerable points for the PLA would be in transit and disembarkation. In an era of smart missile technology, ships at sea make for large, slow targets. Taiwan’s joint fire strikes from air, sea, and shore assets would focus on sinking the invasion ships in the littoral. Ground forces could then mop up disorganized and stunned PLA units on the landing beaches. If all went to plan, this would be the natural progression of a failed Chinese invasion. But what if the Taiwanese plan failed?

Taiwanese plans call for a defense in depth. The ODC aimed to reform the reserve force and separate its form and function from the regular military, creating an all-volunteer territorial defense force that would be trained in a decentralized command and communications denied environment. Light weapons and equipment would be stocked locally for immediate access upon mobilization. If the PLA successfully lands on Taiwan’s beaches, the territorial defense force would conduct anti-airborne missions and defend critical infrastructure and urban areas. Such units would serve a key role in a prolonged insurgency.

With no published National Security Strategy, Taiwan’s latest National Defense Report is the most authoritative source available for understanding Taipei’s vision. Released in November 2021, that document has no mention of the ODC and instead reverts to using vague terminology to describe Taiwan’s military strategy as “resolute defense and multi-domain deterrence.” But then it precisely outlines four different defensive stages should the PLA attempt to invade. First, Taiwan’s military would conduct denial operations at enemy points of embarkation. Second, Taiwan’s military would conduct strike operations at sea. Third, Taiwan’s military would conduct attack operations as the enemy offloaded ships. Fourth, Taiwan’s military would seek to totally annihilate enemy troops that make it to the landing beaches.

To accomplish these missions, Taiwan aims to emphasize long-range strikes, counter-air operations, sea control, homeland defense, ICE (information, electronic, and cyber) warfare, and joint C2ISR (command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance). These force buildup goals are consistent in both the 2021 National Defense Report as well as the 2021 Quadrennial Defense Review, with the latter strategy document specifically emphasizing air superiority as part of counter-air operations. Indeed, both reports borrow language from the ODC, especially in sections regarding asymmetric weapons. To be clear, these delineated areas of force buildup are all important. However, the report lacks the clear prioritization the ODC provided, as well as the ways and means to achieve strategic end states. With limited resources and time, what is most important for Taiwan’s defense and how will Taiwan achieve these objectives?

Official plans for reserve reform are focused on planning for mobilization and increasing training. To this end, the National Defense Report stresses merging the reserve and mobilization management systems as one, achieving unity of regular and reserve forces, and promoting interagency cooperation. In December 2021, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) officially established the All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency which appears primarily geared toward mobilization planning. Reserves training has been increased from seven days to two weeks, and the MND is seeking to increase the number of “special reservists.” It is without a doubt that mobilization and training are key operational aspects that must be strengthened. Public polling indicates support for reinstating extended conscription service. Yet it is no secret that Taiwan’s reserve force suffers from deep structural challenges. Increasing the quantity of training is vital, but without addressing issues such as the nature and quality of reserves training, readiness, and missions, it is unclear what the fully reformed reserve force would look like and how effective it could be.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be a wake-up call for both the United States and Taiwan. Unlike Ukraine, Taiwan is not a widely-recognized nation-state with a seat at the United Nations and an embassy in Washington. At the current time, Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with the U.S. are considered “unofficial,” and it is unclear how the White House will react if China attacks Taiwan. The Biden administration has said its commitments to Taiwan are “rock solid,” without defining what that means. President Biden has stated that the United States could military defend Taiwan during a contingency, yet this has been walked back by the State Department.

Counterplan to solve Taiwan aggression 

Lee, 6-16, 22, Eric Lee is Associate Director of Programs at the Project 2049 Institute, s War Really Coming to Taiwan?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/war-really-coming-taiwan-202984?page=0%2C1

The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed and that strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan remains. But with the global threat picture darkening, the United States and Taiwan would do well to work more closely together to deter a Chinese attack and, if necessary, defeat it. In the absence of an American policy of strategic clarity and commitment to defend Taiwan, both countries will struggle to develop a clear division of labor. Nonetheless, they could take steps to develop notional roles, missions, and responsibilities for possible ad hoc coalition operations. And they could rapidly expand bilateral training and increase the scope of liaison missions.

The United States and Taiwan could also initiate the prepositioning of American military equipment to help bolster readiness as quickly as possible, modeling of the existing War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA) program with Israel. Equipment would be owned by the United States and maintained by the host nation, initiating a foreign military sale only if transferred to Taiwan. Separate stockpiles could be established for the United States and Taiwan militaries. American depots could hold equipment supporting the sustainment of joint force partners across the Indo-Pacific. Taiwanese depots could hold munitions, spare parts, and other items that would help address shortages and procurement challenges for key defense equipment. Such bilateral cooperation would substantively boost readiness against the pacing challenge for the American and Taiwanese militaries.

Near-term efforts to counter the PLA threat, such as a WRSA program for Taiwan, should be expanded alongside long-term efforts, such as establishing a senior-level, bilateral defense industrial supply chain steering group geared toward addressing structural problems in the U.S.-Taiwan defense relationship in confronting shared challenges. Such a policy coordination mechanism would identify Chinese defense research and development (R&D) trends to identify single points of failure and maintain a qualitative military edge in key areas; promote cooperative R&D and examine opportunities for joint production, sustainment, and follow-on development of defense equipment; provide a forum for procurement of Taiwan’s technology, equipment, systems, or logistics support solutions that uniquely meet U.S. needs; and enhance Taiwan’s defense readiness through careful indigenization of repair and maintenance.

All in all, Taiwan must prepare for all manner of coercive and annihilative scenarios and deploy capabilities that support these missions. The United States appears to be gearing Taiwan to prepare for war without making clear if war is coming. Without a clear commitment from the United States, it is unclear if any allies and partners would fill capability gaps for any use of force scenarios. It would be in the national interest of both the United States and Taiwan to have some semblance of strategic clarity, whether publicly or privately, so that roles and missions can begin to be established for a potential Chinese invasion as well as other scenarios along the entire peace-war continuum. If operational plans are being rewritten, coordination would enhance the effectiveness of such planning. Leaders in Washington and Taipei sometimes forget that the defense of Taiwan is about much more than simply arm sales. If time is really as critical as it is claimed to be, both sides should start acting like it. And this starts with speaking a common language.

Non-unique: New arms sales alienate China

James Gordon, 6-11, 22, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10906289/China-threatens-war-saying-smash-smithereens-independence-plot-Taiwan.html, China threatens Defense Secretary with WAR: Minister tells Lloyd Austin that Beijing will 'smash to smithereens any Taiwan independence plot' and will 'definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost'

China has said it is prepared to go to war in order to defend its right to keep Taiwan from becoming an independent state. China will 'smash to smithereens any Taiwan independence plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland' Chinese Defense Minister Fenghe told U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore on Friday. 'If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost', Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian quoted the Fenghe as saying during the meeting, in what is a escalating of tension, not least of which in the type of language being used. READ MORE Austin met with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe who bemoaned new American arms sales to Taiwan announced this week, saying it 'seriously undermined China's sovereignty and security interests.' China 'firmly opposes and strongly condemns it,' Wei told told Austin.

Non-unique: Relations at the lowest point since 1972

Stuart Lau, 6-10, 22, Austin: U.S. 'determined' to keep Taiwan's status quo, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/10/austin-determined-to-keep-taiwans-status-quo-00038990

In the bilateral meeting, Wei told Austin that the Chinese military “will not hesitate to fight if anyone dares secedes Taiwan” from China, according to a spokesman for the Chinese defense ministry. The strong reaction from Beijing is seen by Western officials at the Singapore meeting as a response to President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to defend Taiwan militarily should China invade the self-ruling democratic island. A senior Chinese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he agreed with U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, who this week described U.S.-China relations as hitting the “lowest moment” since 1972. Taiwan has become a major focal point in the conference, with the Russian war on Ukraine adding to the uncertainty about the security situation in the Indo-Pacific. Austin alluded to the comparability between the two regions. “Do rules matter? Does sovereignty matter? Does the system that we have built together matter?” Austin said. “I’m here because the rules-based international order matters just as much in the Indo-Pacific as it does in Europe.”

New trade deal not enough, need a bilateral trade deal to strengthen China and Taiwan’s economies and reduce trade with China

Tori Smith, Director of International Economic Policy, American Action Forum, 6-10, 22, WHITE HOUSE’S NEW INITIATIVE WITH TAIWAN FALLS SHORT OF A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/white-houses-new-initiative-with-taiwan-falls-short-of-a-free-trade-agreement/

Executive Summary The United States and Taiwan announced the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, 10 days after Taiwan was left out of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The new initiative is a bilateral version of the IPEF, but it is seemingly duplicative of the three other economic forums held between the United States and Taiwan. Similar to the IPEF, this initiative with Taiwan lacks market access commitments that a trade agreement would provide, limiting the potential for substantive economic benefit from the new negotiations. Introduction On June 1, the United States and Taiwan announced a new forum for economic engagement called the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade. This initiative comes just days after the Biden Administration announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). Taiwan was notably left out of the IPEF, and this new bilateral initiative ostensibly represents a consolation prize for the country. The Initiative on 21st Century Trade will cover 11 areas of economic and trade policy, ranging from agriculture regulations to standards for state-owned enterprises. Nine of the 11 areas for negotiation in this new initiative would overlap with those of the IPEF. Finally, like the IPEF, this new initiative does not include negotiations on market access, limiting the potential for substantive economic benefit from the discussions. This paper explains why Taiwan was not included in the IPEF, what the Initiative on 21st Century Trade seeks to accomplish, how this new initiative relates to the three existing bilateral economic forums between the United States and Taiwan, and what the new initiative means for the prospects of a bilateral trade agreement. U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade Leading up to the formal announcement of the IPEF, Taiwan requested to be included in the framework, and support for this request from members of Congress,[1] the business community, and think tanks[2] was strong. Ultimately, Taiwan was not made a party of the IPEF launch in Japan on May 23. Nevertheless, at the time, the White House signaled that a parallel effort to further economic engagement with Taiwan was likely. The executive branch has not explicitly stated the reason for excluding Taiwan from the IPEF. Scholars at the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested “the island was ultimately left out of the framework to secure the participation of other South and Southeast Asian countries reluctant to antagonize Beijing.” This assessment has merit. Many of the countries included in the IPEF rely heavily on trade with China and the mainland’s willingness to deploy economic coercion measures is on their radar. Ten days after launching the IPEF, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a press release announcing the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade. According to USTR, the initiative “is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses.” U.S. and Taiwanese officials are expected to meet later this month to establish a plan for conducting negotiations under this initiative. Comparison to the IPEF The new initiative’s 11 negotiation areas overlap substantially with those of the IPEF. Both efforts will address trade facilitation, regulatory practices, agriculture, small and medium enterprises, digital trade, “worker-centric trade,” and international standards. The third IPEF pillar on infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonization will likely have goals similar to the new initiative’s efforts on environment and climate policies. Finally, the new initiative’s anticorruption area will likely be similar to the IPEF’s fourth pillar on tax and anti-corruption. Two areas of negotiation were included in the initiative with Taiwan that have not been mentioned as part of the IPEF: state-owned enterprises and non-market economies. These two areas are part of newer trade agreements that the United States has negotiated – namely the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – and represent major areas of policy disagreement between mainland China and the United States. It is notable that Taiwan agreed to conduct talks on these topics, perhaps signaling its intention to emphasize its differences with mainland China’s economic system. Existing U.S.-Taiwan Economic Dialogues At face value, the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade appears to be a consolation prize for Taiwan. The country requested to be included because Taiwan is often excluded from international organizations and regional agreements. If any regional effort could include Taiwan, it is most likely to be U.S.-led. The new bilateral initiative could also be duplicative of the other frameworks and dialogues that already exist between the United States and Taiwan. USTR directs the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which has existed since 1994. The TIFA was established to provide a forum for removing barriers to trade and investment. The most recent TIFA talks were held by the Biden Administration in June 2021. The U.S. State Department held the second annual U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue (EPPD) in November 2021. The purpose of the EPPD is to discuss “supply chain resiliency, countering economic coercion, promoting the digital economy, strengthening 5G network security, and advancing collaboration in a variety of science and technology fields.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced in December 2021 the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration (TTIC), which seeks to “develop commercial programs and explore actions to strengthen critical supply chains.” In short, there is no lack of forums for economic dialogue between the United States and Taiwan. The Initiative on 21st Century Trade most certainly overlaps with the TIFA and EPPD, although perhaps less so with the TTIC. New Initiative Falls Short Taiwan is certainly an important economic partner; in 2020, Taiwan was America’s ninth-largest trading partner. There is long-standing, bipartisan support in Congress for a bilateral trade agreement. The country is also a top international supplier of semiconductors. Like the IPEF, however, the Initiative on 21st Century Trade lacks any commitment to lower tariff barriers. The other positive aspects of the initiative could likely be pursued in existing forums. Without new market access, it is unlikely that this new initiative will substantively increase trade between the United States and Taiwan. The best way to deepen economic ties with Taiwan – a goal USTR says it desires – is to pursue a bilateral trade agreement. Indeed, a recent report found that a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan that eliminates tariffs and reduces non-tariff barriers would increase U.S. total trade by $6.2 billion and Taiwanese total trade by $3.8 billion. Such an agreement would also increase gross domestic product for both countries and result in trade diversion from China, another outcome sought by USTR.

Trade increases war risks

Sorin Adam Matei Nagisha Ishinabe, 6-8, 22, Sorin Adam Matei, PhD, is the Director of the FORCES initiative and a Senior Fellow at the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University, Nagisha Ishinabe is a FORCES Junior Fellow and a Doctoral student at Purdue University, Does International Trade Actually Breed Conflict?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/does-international-trade-actually-breed-conflict-202822?page=0%2C1

Contrary to traditional wisdom, international trade integration of countries found across political divides may lead to an unbalanced world and conflict due to resentment and fear. The war in Ukraine has revealed an amazing paradox: nations can be at war while still trading with each other. Between the beginning of the war on February 24 and June 1, 2022, the European Union paid Russia 60 billion euros for fossil fuel deliveries only, while the Russian Federation was waging a savage war against a EU de facto ally, Ukraine. Yet, the paradox of trading while fighting is not the product of hypocrisy or a cruel joke of the gods. It reveals an unexpected facet of economic globalization: the more it integrates nations, the more it creates the premises for conflict. The paradox did not become apparent until now because common and received wisdom claimed that economic integration leads to political convergence. However, for this to be true, the nations caught up in the process of globalization should have been close enough to converge. When they were at the polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, the results turned out to be disastrous. Autocracy and democracy pushed toward each other will end up clashing, not making peace. The current European conflict is not the only one we can and should expect from forcing economic globalization onto nations that are too different to integrate with each other peacefully. Across the Pacific, the United States keeps importing hundreds of billions of dollars in commodities from a resurgent China that uses the proceeds to militarize the South China Sea and to create strategic outposts on Pacific islands, such as Guadalcanal and Tarawa, which cost the United States the lives of thousands of Marines and sailors to wrestle from the hands of Japan seventy years ago. The “trade dependency-breeds-conflict” paradox was fueled not only by mere bilateral trade, but most importantly by the emergence of two trade blocks that decoupled the Western and democratic powers (United States, European Union, and the allied East Asian nations) from each other. For the first time, the United States and EU find themselves separated from each other and shackled to their main competitors. Research conducted by the FORCES initiative and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University discovered vast co-dependency relationships across political blocks by analyzing the network of international trade data. We analyzed data collected in 2014 by the Global Trade Analysis Center at Purdue University. We found that China and the United States anchor an Indo-Pacific-African trade block (depicted in Figure 1 in red) that is distinct from the Eurasian one (marked blue), which relies on the leading EU nations, especially Germany, and Russia. In effect, the Atlantic political compact represented by NATO is undermined by the fact that it straddles a two-block trade map that rips the Western nations apart from each other. Figure 1. Trade blocks revealed by network analysis of export-import flows between the 141 largest nations of the world. Two blocks have emerged, one anchored by the United States and China (red) and one by the EU and Russia (blue). Yellow nations are unaffiliated. We discovered this misalignment by analyzing the trade relationships of 141 major nations representing over 95 percent of the world population and economic activity. We constructed a matrix of trade, which reflected how much each nation traded with the other 140 before the pandemic (2014). We then used network analysis to find communities or clusters of trade. The analysis grouped countries into network clusters or blocks in such a way that the average amount a nation trades with the members of its cluster is lower than the average of its trade to nations outside its cluster. The main finding is stark. There are only two main trade blocks or sub-networks, the red (Indo-Pacific-African) and the blue (Eurasian). The yellow nations are “orphans” who belong to neither group and only sporadically trade with each other. In each block, a major Western power is shackled by strong trading links to an authoritarian regime. For instance, the United States is bound to China and the European Union to Russia and its dependencies. Figure 2. Trade blocks defined by export-imports in electronics. In a follow-up analysis, we also looked at the trade in electronics, including parts (semiconductors, peripherals, sensors, etc.) and integrated systems (computers, networks, etc.). The two paradoxical blocks remain, with the only difference that the red, Indo-Pacific block also includes Latin America, while the EU weight in the Eurasian block is heavier than it was in the overall trade map. The presence of trade blocks is not surprising. What is truly unexpected is that the dividing line between the blocks creates a cleft right down the middle of the traditional Western system of alliances and dependencies. The fact that Germany and Russia are closer to each other than Germany is to the United States, and that the United States finds itself closer to China than to its European allies, goes a long way to explain current and potential future conflicts. Germany and the EU’s general hesitancy in tackling the Russian threat, both before and after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, can only be explained by the fact that the EU found itself dealing with a problem for which it had no easy answer. The EU depends not only on Russian energy but has made significant long-term export bets on Russia and its former Soviet dependents’ markets in Central Asia. At the same time, the disconnection between the EU and the United States makes it hard for the two powers to support each other in time of need. Conversely, the initial U.S. hesitancy to tackle the Ukrainian problem is also a reflection of the fact that the United States recognized that the EU made its own plans, while the United States had to cope with its equally if not more complex entanglements with China across the Pacific. The emergence of the two relatively unexpected trade blocks is the equivalent of a major tectonic shift of power which can lead to many more political and military earthquakes. These will be provoked by two factors. One, already mentioned, is the weakening of the Western political compact by the economic reorientation of the EU and the United States. The other exists within each of the newly formed economic blocks. The strong forces of economic attraction that push the EU toward Russia and the United States to China create the premises for even stronger rejection forces. Why is the economic dependency created by the two blocks meant to create conflict? The answer is simple: economic dependency creates political resentment and existential fear. Economic integration demands political alignment and authoritarian nations can only accept that much adaptation before fearing a complete reversal of their current power arrangements and push violently back. Let us take the Russian-EU co-dependency. In Figure 1, not all blue colors are the same. Darker hues show the depth of the dependency of the nations on each other. Germany is the hyper-connector, being the darkest blue, followed by the second-tier great connectors: France, the United Kingdom, and Russia. In attacking Ukraine, Russia wanted to reassert its political importance in the Eurasian trade block rather than being absorbed into it. The fact that Ukraine aspired to be an EU member and that EU leaders wanted integration with Ukraine pushed Russia’s anxiety beyond the breaking point. Otherwise put, the Europe’s tight economic embrace of Russia not only fueled the Russian military’s resurgence (with petro-euros reinvested by Russia in cruise missiles) but also the resentment that a successful expansion of the EU to the east might cut into Russia’s ability to be a true civilizational power. Looking at the trans-Pacific (red) trade block, we notice that China and the United States are depicted in the darkest hues of red. They are thus the equally dependent on each other and the most important to the group. They are followed by Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and then by the extended community of Southeast Asian nations, including Australia. The leaders of the red block, China and the United States, breed resentment with each dollar traded. The United States resents that China takes advantage of freer terms of trade to siphon intellectual property and illegally subsidize its state-controlled global economic leaders. China resents that the United States controls the world financial flows and the modern infrastructure of information, content, and finance. The co-dependent U.S.-China relationship has, however, an even deeper implication. The United States might need China to remain a leader in world trade more than China needs the United States. In a second step of our network analysis, we removed the link between the United States and China, as if the two countries were at war, ceasing all exports and imports. Figure 3 shows that China would remain in the Indo-Pacific trade block (red), strengthening its ties to the other nations and picking up new connections in Africa, while the United States will be sent back to the Americas, to form a new trade block (green) with its continental neighbors. In effect, a complete and sudden decoupling of the United States from China will send the United States back to the beginning of the twentieth century, turning it into a regional power. One hundred years of global dominance will end up back to Teddy Roosevelt’s aspirations to become a world power. Even more surprisingly, however, is the finding illustrated in Figure 4, resulted from removing the trade between Germany and Russia, the leading nations of the Eurasian block. Surprisingly, the block does not change much. The Russian Federation remains a member of the Eurasian cluster even if it does not do any trade with Germany. Russia’s integration with Europe is far deeper than any single connection with any of the leading EU nations. This reality is currently well illustrated by the slowness and the continued reluctance of the European Union to sever its ties completely and definitively with the Russian Federation. Even after three months of bloody war in the heart of the European continent, the EU continues to do business with Russia on a scale the intensity of the war in Ukraine does not justify. Modern nations depend on each other like never before in history. Yet, if familiarity breeds contempt, trade dependency may breed resentment if not worse.

US no longer has a policy of strategic ambiguity

Dr. Patrick Mendis is a distinguished visiting professor of transatlantic relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland as well as a distinguished visiting professor of global affairs at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan, June 5, 2022, Can America Prevent a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/can-america-prevent-chinese-invasion-taiwan-202783?page=0%2C2

During his maiden Asian visit to Japan and South Korea, President Joe Biden reiterated in Tokyo on May 23 that the United States would intervene militarily if China attempted to invade Taiwan by force. His repeated warning appeared to depart from the long-lasting “policy of ambiguity” employed by Washington. In Japan, the U.S. president added that the United States had made a commitment to “support the One China policy” in the past, but Beijing does not have the “jurisdiction to go in and use force to take over Taiwan.” He then compared the Russian invasion of Ukraine to a potential invasion of Taiwan by China and warned “it will dislocate the entire region” and emphasized that China—like Russia—would pay a long-term price for its actions. In essence, Biden’s message is crystal clear: the United States would engage in stronger military action to defend Taiwan against China than it has in Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

The argument propounded by McKinney and Harris started with a discussion of the growing military power of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Asia and the challenges of American ability to implement deterrence by denial via military force in a Taiwan contingency. These authors primarily argued that China’s advancement would reduce the cost of military action against Taiwan, while the cost of restraint would increase due to the recent domestic politics in Taiwan. In such a situation, the U.S. military no longer has clear supremacy in the region; a future Taiwan scenario would either be a fait accompli for China or an escalation of a Sino-American great power war.

China undermining its own potential for global dominance

Cogan & Scott, 6-3, 22, Mark S. Cogan is an associate professor of peace and conflict studies at Kansai Gaidai University based in Osaka, Japan and a former communications specialist with the United Nations.; Paul Scott is a Japan-China specialist and democracy activist who is currently teaching in the Graduate Program in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Universitat Jaume I, Castellón de la Plana, España and at the Catholic University of Lille, France; Imperial Overstretch: Has Xi Jinping’s China Gone Too Far?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/imperial-overstretch-has-xi-jinping%E2%80%99s-china-gone-too-far-202803?page=0%2C1

If Deng Xiaoping were alive today, he would neither be pleased nor surprised. The pro-market reforms that launched China into a global power are being undone under Xi Jinping, curtailing growth for the sake of concentrating political power, spending far too much political capital on crushing dissent and punishing the last vestiges of democratic ambitions, and overextending China militarily in the Indo-Pacific. Deng’s critical reforms were based on two fundamental beliefs, first, that communism in China could be saved by creating a vibrant economy and improving people’s lives, and second, without the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in charge, China would descend into chaos. When Wei Jingsheng went on trial in 1979 on charges of being a counter-revolutionary, the first sign was visible that the gaps between economic and political reform and the need for a Fifth Modernization, democracy, would not and could not be resolved. Under Xi’s leadership, these gaps have turned into a chasm. His selection as president in 2013 was a transformative event. While Mao Zedong unified the nation and Deng made it rich, Xi has created an overbearing surveillance state marked by sharpened authoritarianism. So-called “wolf warrior diplomacy,” which is assertive, confrontational, and hypersensitive to criticism, has become the hallmark of Chinese diplomacy. China is projecting power through the most ambitious and expensive construction project in human history. Xi’s policies envision a new world order with Beijing at the center. This is oddly a bastardized return to traditional pre-modern hierarchies based on kowtow, which ritualized inequality among states and recognized the moral superiority of China. However, in autocracies like China’s, there is often a fatal flaw. Chinese leaders have painted themselves into a corner by not embracing diversity of opinion and by failing to admit when they make mistakes. An apt analogy is the recent Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai. To control the spread of the virus, China locked down the city of 25 million but in so doing created lasting damage to its economy while harming the livelihoods and psychosocial well-being of its residents. China’s overreach led to a rare outpouring of dissent. Xi has stressed that CCP leadership and the “advantages of the socialist system” are the cure for all problems, but challenges keep piling up. China’s economy is slowing, local debts are increasing, and its corporations have borrowed with reckless abandon. Trumpeting that only the CCP can solve mounting social and economic problems is dangerous since it raises the risk of over-promising and under-delivering. During the 1980s, there were criticisms of Deng’s reforms. The absence of any dissenting voices riled not just university students but workers as well. The inability of a tone-deaf CCP leadership to listen to criticism directly led to the Tiananmen movement. China’s imperial overreach, a combination of inflexible leadership, a failure to admit mistakes, and intolerance of criticism is alive and well. China is experiencing pain in its economy that it hasn’t felt in decades. A zero-tolerance policy on Covid-19, as well as a regulatory crackdown on the tech sector and the real estate industry, have left China’s labor market in a precarious state. Beijing reported an urban employment figure of more than 5 percent, but the devil is in the details. Migrants from rural areas aren’t working in urban areas because of changes in the labor market, including having to be in quarantine. For example, the number of rural laborers working in major metropolitan areas declined by 5.2 million workers in 2020, or 1.8 percent due to Covid-19 restrictions. There’s scant evidence they are going to return and this will cause significant damage to the economy. Some of the jobs previously held by migrants aren’t coming back due to declines in manufacturing and increased automation. As China now struggles with a labor shortage, it looks to automation to solve some of its critical manufacturing challenges. But the Chinese Communist Party cannot get out of its own way. A regulatory crackdown on private enterprise has left tens of thousands of people out of work in the critically important tech sector. The move to better regulate private enterprise and disrupt monopolies comes with little explanation and is a departure from the past, where a hands-off approach led to a surge in growth evidenced by the success of e-commerce giant Alibaba, as well as Huawei and Tencent. China’s overreach has held back its economic engine to the tune of $1.5 trillion and has been personified by the silencing of billionaire Jack Ma. In 2020, when Ma in 2020 spoke at a conference against the actions of Chinese state-owned banks, regulators brought him in for questioning and halted the IPO of Alibaba subsidiary Ant Group. Since then, the private sector crackdown has spread across industries related to education, cryptocurrencies, and finance. The motivations behind Xi Jinping’s economic crackdown point to a desire to consolidate his political power ahead of the 20th Party Congress, which is scheduled for later this year. The “common prosperity” rhetoric designed to shift the narrative to closing income gaps between China’s richest and its most beleaguered masses feels like a secondary effort that will do little to address institutionalized inequalities and corruption. Hong Kong also personifies Xi’s overreach. The recent arrest of ninety-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, a democracy and human rights activist, provides valuable insight. To outsiders, the arrest of an elderly man is a testament to how petty Chinese enforcement of its 2020 national security law has become, because after all, what national security threat does an elderly retired Catholic cleric pose to China? The arrest of pro-democracy activists, opposition lawmakers, and a crackdown on political expression has been brutal. Now, the potential of a crackdown on religious freedom makes Chinese overreach another step beyond the pale. Zen’s arrest exemplifies Xi’s intolerance of pluralism where other ideas, including democratic ones, might exist alongside his own. Hong Kong’s Western-influenced political and cultural norms and values have been all but dismantled since the national security law took effect. While Hong Kong’s “zero Covid” policy has contributed to the largest brain drain in the city’s history, some of the vast relocations of expats and residents are also linked to the draconian security law. Its passage also accelerated the growth of Hong Kong’s diaspora which numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Even now, while safe across oceans or international borders, Beijing holds potential leverage over those who speak out and have family or financial assets remaining in Hong Kong. China’s relentless pursuit of growth and a dogged insistence on reclaiming the hierarchies that existed prior to its Century of Humiliation at the hands of the West have harmed its international reputation. One does not need to look far to find examples. The Mekong River originates in China but flows down into lower basin countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. To satisfy its vast energy demands, China built the Manwan Dam in 1995 and has since built ten more. Eleven more dams are in different stages of construction in Laos and Cambodia. The Mekong River is host to 20 percent of the world’s freshwater fish and is a critical economic resource for people in the region. However, China has used upstream dams as leverage against downstream countries. Even though evidence, such as that provided by the Mekong Dam Monitor, shows that Chinese dams are damaging the environment around the Mekong, China is resistant to help. Rather than provide information to downstream countries about potential changes in the flow of the river, China has largely refused to share valuable data. Since its inception, the discourse surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been vociferous and wide-ranging. There are multiple dimensions, but aside from the trade and strategic ramifications, financing has always been a major concern. The BRI is not a Chinese-style Marshall Plan done largely through grants; Chinese investors expect to make a profit. According to AidData, policymakers in low and middle-income countries are mothballing high-profile projects because of overpricing, corruption, and debt sustainability concerns. Malaysia is a prime example. Instead of creating meaningful coalitions, the BRI has exposed China’s shortcomings, which ignore critical measures like monitoring and evaluation.

"Countering China's tech" is just an idea that fails in practice

Harrington, 6-4, 22, Jake Harrington is an intelligence fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Over the past two decades, he has served in positions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the U.S. Senate. He can be found on Twitter @jake_p_harr, Is the U.S. Ready to Escalate Technological Competition with China?, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/techland-when-great-power-competition-meets-digital-world/us-ready-escalate-technological?page=0%2C1

In a major speech last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken elaborated on the Biden administration’s emerging China policy. During those remarks, Blinken explained how U.S. policy will focus on efforts to “shape the strategic environment around Beijing.” That is, to compete with—rather than directly confront—China across the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological landscape over the next decade. Through the specific lens of technology competition, Blinken noted that “Beijing has perfected mass surveillance within China and exported that technology to more than eighty countries.” Signaling American disapproval of how China’s technological exports are bolstering Beijing’s efforts to dominate markets and normalize the use of surveillance, big data, and analytics to fuel oppression and stifle dissent, Blinken argued that the United States and its like-minded partners envision a future “where technology is used to lift people up, not suppress them.” But how far is the United States willing to go to confront Chinese technology firms it accuses of enabling human rights violations both within China and abroad? If recent reports prove accurate, we may soon find out. In early May, the Financial Times reported that the Biden administration is considering adding Hikvision—the world’s largest producer of video surveillance equipment and services—to the United States’ most punitive sanctions regime, the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. Hikvision may be less familiar than other Chinese global technology giants (think, Huawei, ZTE, and TikTok) subject to U.S. government scrutiny and action in recent years, but it is already under varying levels of U.S. financial sanctions targeting the company’s human rights record and threats to national security. Despite the significant existing constraints on Hikvision’s ability to conduct business with U.S. companies and the U.S. government, an SDN listing would mark a substantial escalation. This escalation would not only carry significant global ramifications for the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products but would also intensify Sino-U.S. technology competition. Designation under the SDN freezes a target’s assets and subjects any U.S. person or organization conducting business with the sanctioned entity to potential penalties. Traditionally, SDN designations are used against individuals and organizations targeted under U.S. counterterrorism, counternarcotics, or counterproliferation programs. However, 2016’s Global Magnitsky Act granted the executive branch broader authority to designate individuals and entities engaged in human rights violations and corruption anywhere in the world. The Biden administration widely utilized this Global Magnitsky, or GLOMAG, designation during its first year in office, using the authority to sanction individuals and organizations across the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. This use of the GLOMAG authority to confront human rights abusers and corrupt officials abroad is consistent with the Biden administration’s emerging national security strategy, specifically the emphasis it places on promoting democracy and countering international corruption. The United States has the financial tools to weaken companies like Hikvision, but it will need far more to fill the vacuum left behind. If, as Secretary Blinken noted, U.S. strategy is focused on “shaping the strategic environment around Beijing,” then Washington must prepare not only to deny Beijing space to advance its techno-authoritarian agenda but also to compete when opportunities arise. The United States has the financial tools to weaken Hikvision, but it will need far more—including money, technology, and a compelling story—to fill the vacuum left behind. Hikvision enters the picture in connection to numerous reports of its involvement in mass surveillance of ethnic Uyghurs, and its role in enabling what the U.S. government now describes as a genocide in China’s Xinjiang province. Ubiquitous video surveillance paired with artificial intelligence capabilities is a cornerstone of the repression of ethnic Uyghurs in Xinjiang, with a former detained citizen claiming that many surveillance cameras in Xinjiang were branded with Hikvision logos. In 2018, Hikvision reportedly developed and marketed software with a so-called “minority recognition function” designed to differentiate between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. As Jon Bateman recently wrote in his assessment of the potential impact of an SDN designation, “Hikvision arguably has the worst human rights record of any globally recognizable Chinese tech company.” Part of the story, therefore, is that the United States may be seeking to exercise the full scope of its authorities under the Global Magnitsky Act: exerting maximum pressure on any individual or organization responsible for building and selling technologies that are used to commit human rights violations. From this perspective, sanctions are a tool for promoting the United States’ “techno-democracy” agenda. In fact, Hikvision would not be the first Chinese technology company accused of enabling human rights abuses to be targeted with an SDN designation. That distinction belongs to the Chinese firm CEIEC, which was sanctioned in 2020 for providing Venezuela’s Maduro regime with a commercial version of China’s “Great Firewall.” But, while CEIEC is a Chinese technology with an international presence, its similarities to Hikvision largely end there. Hikvision is a global market leader, operating in more than 180 countries across the defense, public safety, commercial, and personal security marketplaces. It retains an extensive presence in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western nations. And it is—by far—China’s largest artificial intelligence firm. An SDN designation for a global technology company this large and deeply integrated into American cities, schools, hospitals, and homes will be painful and costly. More than 100 U.S. municipalities invested in Hikvision technology in recent years, even as the federal government undertook a Congressionally-directed divestment from the company. If Hikvision’s business activities in the United States were fully blocked, the future of these systems would be immediately cast into doubt. Even the delivery of critical software patches or firmware updates would require a license from the Department of Treasury Outside of the United States, the dominance of U.S. financial institutions and dollar-denominated transactions could almost certainly weaken Hikvision’s global sales and its ability to secure access to suppliers. Approximately 25 percent of Hikvision’s sales come from abroad, and, without any formal announcement by the U.S. government, Hikvision has still incurred substantial economic losses. Hikvision’s stock has lost more than 20 percent of its value since the Financial Times story broke, erasing $15 billion in market capitalization. One should not underestimate how important Hikvision is to China’s broader ambitions to lead the world in artificial intelligence by 2030. As noted, Hikvision is China’s largest artificial intelligence firm, and it is one of China’s artificial intelligence “national champions”—a highly meaningful designation that reflects the importance of the company to China’s global technology ambitions. Based on translations of recent articles and speeches by Chinese academics and government officials, a potential U.S. decision to escalate sanctions against Hikvision would merely confirm the prevailing sentiment in Beijing. As one prominent Chinese scholar wrote earlier this year in an assessment of the Biden administration’s China strategy: “The high-tech R&D and cutting-edge manufacturing fields have actually become the main battlefields of the United States’ ‘new containment strategy’ against China.” Through this lens, both Chinese academics and government officials have repeatedly characterized U.S. efforts to pursue technology partnerships with like-minded partners and allies—including the Quad, AUKUS, and the U.S.-E.U. Technology and Trade Council—as thinly veiled efforts to block China from pursuing its legitimate economic interests. As Xi Jinping claimed in his remarks at the World Economic Forum, such efforts are focused on building “exclusive yards with high walls,” which “[overstretch] the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicizing or weaponizing economic, scientific and technological issues.” This is all to say that, regardless of the ultimate decision on sanctions for Hikvision, the battle lines between Washington and Beijing on these issues are drawn. Washington has announced its intention “to promote consensus-based, values-aligned technology standards,” and Beijing is continuing to hone and amplify its messaging, warning against those “wearing a ‘democratic’ vest and arriving as a teacher to swindle and cheat on all sides.” There is legitimate concern that an escalating series of reciprocal sanctions would leave both sides wounded, accelerating a technological “decoupling” to an unsustainable pace. China recently introduced its own “Unreliable Entity List,” which would target entities “endangering China’s national sovereignty, security, or development interests,” but it has yet to exercise this authority. Despite China and the United States signaling their views quite clearly, the bigger challenge in the global struggle over the role of technology in society is that it is not binary. It is not one purely defined by democracies and autocracies, or by individual superpowers like the United States and China. The arena where norms and standards will ultimately be determined will be heavily influenced by the “hedging middle.” The uncomfortable truth for the United States is that states, even democratic ones, want to harness the benefits of emerging technology and data analytics. These capabilities, of which AI-enabled video surveillance is merely one, promise to keep our cities safe, improve public health outcomes, optimize government services, and enhance national defense. However, as the mounting evidence in Xinjiang underscores, the same technologies that offer so much potential are susceptible to abuse. So, while the United States may view sanctions against Hikvision as a necessary measure to hold those enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang to account, they will not answer a more important question for the 180 countries where Hikvision technology is in-use: what comes next? What differentiates a “democracy-affirming” producer of video surveillance technology from a company like Hikvision? Will the United States make this distinction based on a company’s customers or its technology? Looking at the hedging middle—which is comprised of states pursuing their own sovereign interests untethered to global norms dictated by Washington or Beijing—how would a financially crippled Hikvision affect their calculus? Will it mean they are forced to pay higher prices or completely rebuild systems currently based on Hikvision equipment?

China leadership good – kills democracy and capitalism

Paul Heer, 6-3, 22, Paul Heer is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia from 2007 to 2015. He is the author of Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia (Cornell University Press, 2018), What Biden and Blinken Got Right on China, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-biden-and-blinken-got-right-china-202782?page=0%2C1

Blinken uses the term “international order” interchangeably with the “rules-based order,” which he said Beijing “is undermining” with its growing authoritarianism at home, facilitation and even promotion of it abroad, and recurring violations of international law and standards of conduct. It is certainly true that Beijing wants to make the world “safe for autocracy” and socialism at the expense of any presumption of the universal appeal and applicability of democracy and capitalism. And China’s willful neglect of liberal democratic values in the conduct of its foreign policy is likely to erode those values internationally. It is also true, as Blinken asserts, that Beijing has “the intent to reshape the international order.”

[insert democracy bad and capitalism bad]

China is not trying to undermine US global leadership

Paul Heer, 6-3, 22, Paul Heer is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia from 2007 to 2015. He is the author of Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia (Cornell University Press, 2018), What Biden and Blinken Got Right on China, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-biden-and-blinken-got-right-china-202782?page=0%2C1

In framing China’s challenge to both the international order and to U.S. interests and security, Blinken stated succinctly that Beijing “has announced its ambition to create a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.” But Beijing has announced neither of those goals. It is true that China aspires to a sphere of influence, and even preeminence, in the Indo-Pacific. But China already has a sphere of influence in the region, and there is little evidence to support the presumption that Beijing necessarily intends for it to be exclusive of and hostile to the United States. In any event, it is not clear what Blinken would cite as Beijing’s “announcement” of its regional objectives.

In this regard, many commentators have interpreted Xi Jinping’s 2014 speech to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), in which he said, “it is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia,” as a declaration of Beijing’s intention to exclude the influence of the United States and other outside powers. But Xi immediately added that “Asia is open to the world” and “we welcome all parties to play a positive and constructive role in promoting Asia’s security and cooperation.” Moreover, two months later, Xi told a visiting American delegation that “the vast Pacific Ocean has ample space to accommodate our two great nations.”

Similarly, Blinken did not specify when Beijing “announced” its goal to become “the world’s leading power.” But two other speeches by Xi have frequently been cited in this regard. The first is an internal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) speech from 2013 in which Xi reportedly said that China needed to concentrate on “building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and laying the foundation for a future where we will win the initiative and have the dominant position.” Harvard scholar Alastair Iain Johnston, however, has persuasively argued that “a more linguistically precise and contextualized translation” of that excerpt strongly suggests that it is “not a reference to China seeking a ‘dominant position’ in global affairs” and that it “does not refer to spreading socialism around the globe but to showing its superiority within China.”

The second speech often cited about Beijing’s global ambition is Xi’s report to the CCP’s Nineteenth Party Congress in 2017, in which he said China was “moving closer to center stage” and that one of Beijing’s goals for the 2049 centennial of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is to “become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence.” But is it crucially important here to recognize the distinction between “a” global leader and “the” global leader. Beijing consistently frames its ambitions in terms of China being “one of” the leading global powers, not the only one. Chinese rhetoric invariably promotes a multipolar rather than a unipolar world, almost certainly because Beijing recognizes that unipolar global hegemony would not be sustainable, and that pursuing it would be costly, destabilizing, and probably counterproductive. This is why Beijing is focused on legitimizing its model and maximizing its influence, leverage, and role in global rule-making relative to the United States, rather than on imposing its model on other countries and supplanting the United States to establish a Sino-centric world.

In sum, Blinken would have been more accurate to simply invoke the U.S. Intelligence Community’s more clinical assessment that China aspires to be “the preeminent power in East Asia and a major power on the world stage.”

China-US cooperation impossible due to different approaches to multilateralism

Paul Heer, 6-3, 22, Paul Heer is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia from 2007 to 2015. He is the author of Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia (Cornell University Press, 2018), What Biden and Blinken Got Right on China, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-biden-and-blinken-got-right-china-202782?page=0%2C1

At the same time, Blinken probably did not recognize the extent to which his speech hinted at potential areas for U.S.-China cooperation. Much of the U.S. vision he outlined is actually shared by Beijing. For example, he said the United States seeks to “strengthen a system in which as many countries as possible can come together to cooperate effectively, resolve differences peacefully, [and] write their own futures as sovereign equals.” He also said Washington wants to “make sure [the international order] represents the interests, the values, the hopes of all nations, big and small, from every region.” It is striking how much of this echoes Beijing’s own diplomatic rhetoric and objectives. Indeed, the agenda outlined in the joint statement issued by “Quad” (United States, Japan, Australia, and India) leaders during Biden’s visit to Tokyo last month overlapped on many issues with a speech Xi delivered a month earlier in which he proposed a “global security initiative.” Of course, there were fundamental differences on democratic values, interpretations of international law, and what Xi called “the Cold War mentality.” But it is nonetheless obvious that both sides want “peace, prosperity, and stability” and that there is ample room for collaborative approaches to such issues as the global economy, health, climate, terrorism, and crisis management. Yet opportunities for cooperation are hindered by Beijing’s and Washington’s separate pursuit of multilateralism that excludes each other. Moreover, when Blinken—in another new rhetorical turn—proclaimed that “This is not about forcing countries to choose; it’s about giving them a choice,” he nonetheless offered an exaggerated caricature of China (without naming it) to illustrate the wrong choice.

Blinken overlooked other elements of symmetry between the U.S. and Chinese approaches—characterizing Beijing in terms that arguably are applicable to Washington, and vice versa. For example, he said “Beijing wants to put itself at the center of global innovation and manufacturing, increase other countries’ technological dependence, and then use that dependence to impose its foreign policy preferences.” Similarly, “Beijing, despite its rhetoric, is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China.” But Washington itself clearly wants the United States to be “the center of global innovation” and to leverage that in support of “its foreign policy preferences.” And it is also engaged in selective economic decoupling to make the United States less dependent on China and other countries more dependent on the United States. Conversely, Blinken affirmed that “We do not seek to transform China’s political system.” But neither does Beijing seek to transform ours or that of any other country, contrary to the prevailing narrative in Washington.

This inattention to symmetry was also reflected in Blinken’s obligatory remarks on the subject of Taiwan. In the wake of Biden’s highly problematic public statement during his visit to Tokyo that Washington has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, Blinken provided a useful reaffirmation of “our one China policy,” including the statement (which is not always included) that “we do not support Taiwan independence.” But while reiterating that “our policy has not changed,” he said, “what has changed is Beijing’s growing coercion” and “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity.” This fails to consider or acknowledge the extent to which Chinese behavior toward Taiwan is itself a response to rhetoric and activity emanating from Washington and Taipei.

In the end, the strategy that Blinken outlined for dealing with China is essentially the same one Beijing is following in its counterstrategy: to invest (in China’s own strengths), align (with other countries that are ambivalent about Washington’s priorities and attention to their interests), and compete with the United States regionally and globally for hearts and minds and wealth and power. And just as the United States is working—as Blinken declared—to “shape the strategic environment around Beijing,” so too is Beijing trying to shape the environment in which Washington must operate. This symmetry is what frames the strategic rivalry between the United States and China, not a winner-take-all struggle.

China take over of Taiwan destroys US global leadership

Kim, 6-3, 22, Lami Kim is an Assistant Professor and Director of Asian Studies Program in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. Her work has appeared in The Washington Quarterly, Global Governance, War on the Rocks, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Bureau of Asian Research, Routledge, and The Diplomat, among others. She holds a PhD degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Master’s degree from Harvard University, Should the United States Defend or Ditch Taiwan?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/should-united-states-defend-or-ditch-taiwan-202772

There is no consensus on this issue. Some argue that Taiwan per se is not a vital interest for the United States, but China’s invasion of Taiwan would be “such a significant breach of international norms as to become a vital American interest.” Others view that defending Taiwan is of economic importance given its importance in global supply chains, especially in the semiconductor industry—Taiwan accounts for 92 percent of global production of microchips below 10 nanometers. Still others view no strategic value in Taiwan. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. stake in Taiwan is far higher than many believe: U.S. primacy in the Western Pacific. If Taiwan falls, so does the United States’ primacy in the Western Pacific, which in turn would diminish the United States’ position globally. Occupying Taiwan would significantly increase China’s power projection capability in the Western Pacific. It would allow China to break through the so-called “first island chain,” running through the Kuril Islands, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Originally envisioned by American strategists to surround the Soviet Union and China during the Korean War, the first-island chain has received renewed attention with the rise of China. In the struggle between China seeking to push the United States out of the Asia-Pacific and secure its “rightful place” in the vast Pacific Ocean, and the United Stations seeking to contain China’s expansion, the first-island chain is the first line of defense/offense depending on which side you sit. Beijing seeks to deny America access to the island chain through its anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy. The United States, for its part, seeks to fortify the island chain. At the center of the first island chain is Taiwan. Two channels near Taiwan, the Bashi Channel to the south of the island, and the Miyako to the north, now constitute choke points for China. With Taiwan under Beijing’s control, these channels could serve as entryways to the Pacific. This is why Taiwan would likely be a flashpoint if a conflict breaks out between the United States and China. In addition, reunification with Taiwan would help China carve out a sphere of influence in Asia. If Washington failed to defend Taiwan, the United States’ credibility as a reliable ally would evaporate, leaving countries in the region no option but to bandwagon to the side of China. Already today, countries in the region, including the United States’ allies and partners, are wary of siding too closely with the United States’ efforts to contain China in order not to irk their most important economic partner. For example, South Korea pledged not to expand American missile defense systems, the 2017 deployment of which prompted severe economic sanctions by China. Even Japan, the United States’ most reliable ally in the region, has avoided hosting the U.S. intermediate-range missiles aimed at countering China’s A2/AD strategy. Failing to defend Taiwan from Chinese aggression would cause the United States’ Indo-Pacific allies to lose faith in the U.S. will and/or capability to follow through on its security guarantees. Lacking U.S. support, allies would decide their efforts to balance against China are futile, and become more willing to acquiesce to Chinese demands, for example expelling U.S. troops out of their countries. These reverberations would mark the change of command of the Western Pacific from the United States to China. Once China kicks the United States out of Asia and carves out a region of strategic influence, China would pose a further direct threat to the United States. Some may argue that China’s ambitions are not global, but regional, in which case the United States and China could co-exist by peacefully respecting each other’s spheres of influence. However, it is difficult to identify a state’s intentions. Even if we could, intentions can change over time. The United States did not intend to become a global hegemon when it started to rise, but here it is. If China’s ambition is now or later becomes a global hegemon, allowing it to roam freely in the Western Pacific would enhance China’s capability to project power outside the region. Eventually, China may pose a direct threat to the U.S. mainland, and the United States’ global position. So when we discuss whether the United States should defend or ditch Taiwan, what we should really discuss is whether the United States should seek to maintain its supremacy in the Western Pacific and beyond. Some may think that maintaining U.S. supremacy is a vital interest for the United States, because China would otherwise become an even bigger threat, or because China’s global domination would threaten the rules-based international order, which is also a crucial U.S. interest. Others may argue that it is wiser to give up U.S. supremacy because maintaining it is too risky. Defending Taiwan from China’s aggression would likely generate massive American casualties in light of China’s increasing military prowess. Worse yet, a military clash between the two nuclear weapons states could escalate into a nuclear catastrophe. Ultimately, whether to defend Taiwan or not is a decision our leaders will have to make. When they do, they must understand what is really at stake.


Trade with Taiwan important to the US economy

Senator Toomey, 6-2, 22, https://www.toomey.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/toomey-led-resolution-calls-for-free-trade-agreement-between-the-us-and-taiwan, Toomey-led Resolution Calls for Free Trade Agreement Between the US and Taiwan

The United States is currently Taiwan’s second largest trading partner, and Taiwan is the tenth largest trading partner of the United States in goods and the eleventh largest trading partner overall.

  • Trade with Taiwan supports an estimated 208,000 United States jobs according to estimates of the United States Department of Commerce as of 2015.
  • Bilateral trade in goods between Taiwan and the United States increased from $62,000,000,000 in 2010 to $86,000,000,000 in 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau.

50% increase in China’s incursions agains Taiwan

Channel News Asia, 6-2, 22, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/china-oppose-taiwan-united-states-trade-talks-2722886

On Monday, China made its second-largest incursion into Taiwan's air defence zone this year, with Taipei reporting 30 aircraft entering the area. So far in 2022 Taiwan has reported 465 such incursions, a near 50 per cent increase on the same period last year, according to an AFP database.

China opposes US trade agreement with Taiwan

Joe MaCdonald, 6-2, 22,  China demands US stop trade talks with Taiwan, https://news.yahoo.com/china-demands-us-stop-trade-093116808.html

China’s government on Thursday accused Washington of jeopardizing peace after U.S. envoys began trade talks with Taiwan aimed at deepening relations with the self-ruled island democracy claimed by Beijing. Talks that started Wednesday cover trade, regulation and other areas based on “shared values” as market-oriented economies, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It did not mention China but the talks add to gestures that show U.S. support for Taiwan amid menacing behavior by Beijing, which threatens to invade. Trade dialogues “disrupt peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian. He called on Washington to “stop negotiating agreements with Taiwan that have sovereign connotations and official nature.” Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the ruling Communist Party’s victory on the mainland. They have multibillion-dollar trade and investment ties but no official relations. Beijing says Taiwan has no right to conduct foreign relations. The United States has diplomatic relations only with Beijing but extensive informal ties with Taiwan. The U.S. government is committed by federal law to see that the island has the means to defend itself. Zhao accused Washington of encouraging sentiment in Taiwan in favor of declaring formal independence, a step Beijing has said previously would be grounds for an invasion. The trade initiative is “intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship” and “advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values,” said a statement by the office of USTR Katherine Tai. Taiwan is the ninth-largest U.S. trading partner and an important manufacturing center for computer chips and other high-tech products. President Joe Biden said May 23 while visiting Tokyo that the United States would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan. He said the U.S. commitment to help the island defend itself was “even stronger” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and expressed support for the island during her second visit in a year to Taiwan. On Monday, China sent 30 military aircraft toward Taiwan in the latest of a series of flights aimed at intimidating the island’s democratically elected government. Taiwan’s defense ministry said it sent up fighter planes and put air defense missile systems on alert.

Multiple military barriers to a China attack on Taiwan

Brad Lendon and Ivan Watson, CNN, 6-1, 22, China has the power to take Taiwan, but it would cost an extremely bloody price, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/31/asia/china-taiwan-invasion-scenarios-analysis-intl-hnk-ml/index.html

On his first trip to Asia as United States President last week, Joe Biden gave his strongest warning yet to Beijing that Washington was committed to defending Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack from China. Biden's comments, which compared a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, appeared to deviate from Washington's decades-old policy of "strategic ambiguity" on the issue and seemingly raised the possibility of a military clash between US and Chinese forces. It's the third time Biden has made similar remarks since taking office and, just as on the other two occasions, they were quickly walked back by the White House -- which insists its policy has not changed. However, it inevitably raises the question: if China tries to take Taiwan, are the United States and its allies able to stop it? And the alarming answer is: Quite possibly not. Analysts say China has more troops, more missiles and more ships than Taiwan or its possible supporters, like the US or Japan, could bring to a fight. That means that if China is absolutely determined to take the island it probably can. But there's a caveat; while China could likely prevail, any victory would come at an extremely bloody price for both Beijing and its adversaries. Many analysts say an invasion of Taiwan would be more dangerous and complex than the Allied D-Day landings in France in World War II. US government documents put the number of killed, injured and missing from both sides during the almost three-month-long Normandy campaign at almost half a million troops. And the civilian carnage could be far, far worse. Taiwan's population of 24 million people is packed into dense urban areas like the capital Taipei, with an average of 9,575 people per square kilometer. Compare that to Mariupol, Ukraine -- devastated in the war with Russia -- and with an average of 2,690 people per square kilometer. Despite its numerical advantages in sea-, air- and land-based forces in the region, China has Achilles heels in each arena of war that would force Beijing to think long and hard about whether an invasion is worth the overwhelming human cost. Here are some scenarios of how a Chinese invasion might play out: The naval war China has the world's largest navy, with around 360 combat vessels -- bigger than the US' fleet of just under 300 ships. Beijing also has the world's most-advanced merchant fleet, a large coast guard and, experts say, a maritime militia -- fishing boats unofficially aligned with the military -- giving it access to hundreds of additional vessels that could be used to transport the hundreds of thousands of troops that analysts say China would need for an amphibious invasion. And those troops would need massive amounts of supplies. "For Beijing to have reasonable prospects of victory, the PLA (People's Liberation Army) would have to move thousands of tanks, artillery guns, armored personnel vehicles, and rocket launchers across with the troops. Mountains of equipment and lakes of fuel would have to cross with them," Ian Easton, a senior director at the Project 2049 Institute, wrote in The Diplomat last year. Getting a force of that size across the 110 miles (177 kilometers) of the Taiwan Strait would be a long, dangerous mission during which those vessels carrying the troops and equipment would be sitting ducks. "The thought about China invading Taiwan, that's a massacre for the Chinese navy," said Phillips O'Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. That's because Taiwan has been stocking up on cheap and effective land-based anti-ship missiles, similar to the Neptunes Ukraine used to sink the Russian cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea in April. "Taiwan is mass-producing these things. And they're small, it's not like (China) can take them all out," O'Brien said. "What's cheap is a surface-to-ship missile, what's expensive is a ship." Still, China could -- given its numerical advantage -- simply decide the losses were worth it, pointed out Thomas Shugart, a former US Navy submarine captain and now an analyst at the Center for a New American Security. "There's gonna be hundreds if not thousands of (Chinese) vessels there to soak up those (Taiwanese) missiles," Shugart said. Missiles aside, China would face massive logistical hurdles in landing enough soldiers. Conventional military wisdom holds that an attacking force should outnumber defenders 3 to 1. "With a potential defending force of 450,000 Taiwanese today ... China would need over 1.2 million soldiers (out of a total active force of more than 2 million) that would have to be transported in many thousands of ships," Howard Ullman, a former US Navy officer and professor at the US Naval War College, wrote in a February essay for the Atlantic Council. He estimated such an operation would take weeks and that despite China's maritime strength, it "simply lacks the military capability and capacity to launch a full-scale amphibious invasion of Taiwan for the foreseeable future." Aircraft carrier killers Some of the problems that would face China's navy in Taiwan would also face any US naval force sent to defend the island. Ballistic missile can hit moving ships, China says Ballistic missile can hit moving ships, China says The US Navy sees its aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, bristling with F-35 and F/A-18 jets, as its spear in the Pacific and would have a numerical advantage in this area. The US has 11 carriers in total, compared to China's two. However, only about half are combat ready at any one time and even these might be vulnerable. O'Brien and others point out that the People's Liberation Army has more than 2,000 conventionally armed missiles, many of which it has developed with the US Navy's prized aircraft carriers in mind. Of particular concern would be China's DF-26 and DF-21D -- touted by Beijing's state-run Global Times tabloid in 2020 as "aircraft carrier killers" and the "world's first ballistic missiles capable of targeting large and medium-sized vessels." As O'Brien puts it, "The US better be careful thinking about, in any kind of war environment, sending carrier battle groups close to China ... If you're fighting a state-to-state war, you're going to stay far away from shore." Others are more confident in the US carriers. Rear Adm. Jeffery Anderson, the commander of the US Navy's Carrier Strike Group Three centered on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, recently told CNN his ships are more than ready to deal with the kind of missiles that sank the Moskva. "One thing I do know about our US ships is they're extremely survivable. Not only are they lethal, but they are extremely survivable," he said. A Chinese air force fighter jet takes off during training exercises in 2017. A Chinese air force fighter jet takes off during training exercises in 2017. The air war China is likely to seek air superiority early into any conflict, analysts say, and may feel it has an advantage in the skies. Flight Global's 2022 directory of the world's air forces shows the PLA with almost 1,600 combat aircraft, compared to Taiwan's fewer than 300. The directory shows the US with more than 2,700 combat aircraft, but those cover the world while China's are all in the region. Taiwan holds ceremony for advanced F-16V fighter jets (Nov. 2021) 02:11 In the air war, China also will have learned from Russia's failures in Ukraine -- where Moscow took months assembling its ground forces yet failed to soften up the terrain for them with a bombing campaign -- and is more likely to emulate the "shock and awe" bombardments that preceded the US' invasions of Iraq. "I'm sure the PLA is learning from what they're seeing," Shugart said. "You can read open-source translations of their strategic documents. They learned very carefully from what we did in Desert Storm and Kosovo." But even in the air China would face significant difficulties. A guided-missile-armed J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs at Airshow China 2018. A guided-missile-armed J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs at Airshow China 2018. Russia's failure to quickly seize control of the skies in Ukraine initially dumbfounded many analysts. Some put the failure down to the cheap antiaircraft missiles Western militaries have supplied to Kyiv. Taiwan has deals with the United States to supply it with Stinger antiaircraft missiles and Patriot missile defense batteries. And it also has been investing heavily in its own missile production facilities over the past three years in a project, when completed this summer, will see its missile production capabilities triple, according to a Janes report in March. On the other hand, China would have an advantage over the US due to its closeness to Taiwan. A recent war game run by the Center for a New American Security concluded that an aerial conflict between the US and China would likely end in stalemate. Commenting on the result to Air Force Magazine, Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, US Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, said that while the US was used to dominating the skies some factors weren't in its favor. China is sending its most advanced fighter jet to patrol disputed seas China is sending its most advanced fighter jet to patrol disputed seas China had "invested in modern aircraft and weapons to fight us," he noted, and US forces would also face the "tyranny of distance" -- most of the US air power used in the war game operated out of the Philippines, about 500 miles (800 kilometers) away. The war game simulated Chinese forces beginning their campaign by trying to take out the nearest US bases in places like Guam and Japan. Hinote likened that move to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, saying China would be motivated by "many of the same reasons." "The attack is designed to give Chinese forces the time they need to invade and present the world with a fait accompli," he told the magazine. China has a growing arsenal of short-, medium- and intermediate range ballistic missiles that can reach these far-flung targets. As of 2020, the PLA had at least 425 missile launchers capable of hitting those US bases, according to the China Power project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier fires an anti-tank rocket during a live-fire military exercise in Wuzhong, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China in 2019. A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier fires an anti-tank rocket during a live-fire military exercise in Wuzhong, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China in 2019. The ground war Even in a scenario where China was willing to take these risks and managed to get a significant amount of troops ashore, its forces would then face another uphill battle. Taiwan has about 150,000 troops and 2.5 million reservists -- and its entire national defense strategy is based on countering a Chinese invasion. Like their counterparts in Ukraine the Taiwanese would have the advantage of home turf, knowing the ground and being highly motivated to defend it. First, the PLA would need to find a decent landing spot -- ideally close to both the mainland and a strategic city such as Taipei with nearby port and airport facilities. Experts have identified just 14 beaches that would fit the bill and Taiwan is well aware of which ones those are. Its engineers have spent decades digging tunnels and bunkers to protect them. Taiwan's troops would also be relatively fresh compared to their Chinese counterparts, who would be drained from the journey over and would still need to push through the island's western mud flats and mountains, with only narrow roads to assist them, toward Taipei. Chinese troops could be dropped in from the air, but a lack of paratroopers in the PLA makes it unlikely. Another problem for Chinese troops would be their lack of battlefield experience. The last time the PLA was in active combat was in 1979, when China fought a brief border war with Vietnam. . In that effort, China "really got a bloody nose, it was not very successful operation," said Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. "So China's military today is not battle tested, and it could suffer great losses, if it indeed attacked Taiwan," Glaser said. Others pointed out that even battle-tested troops could struggle against a well-motivated defensive force -- noting that the Russian military was bogged down in Ukraine despite its recent fighting experience in Syria and Georgia. Still, as with the other scenarios, it is not only Chinese forces that might be handicapped by a lack of experience. Taiwan's troops have also not been tested, and depending on the scenario, there are holes in even the US' experience. As Shugart put it: "There is not a single US naval officer who has sunk another ship in combat." What are the chances China attacks? Glaser, the German Marshall Fund analyst, thinks a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely. Here's how Taiwan has made the US-China relationship more complicated Here's how Taiwan has made the US-China relationship more complicated 02:54 "I think that the PLA lacks full confidence that it can seize and control Taiwan. The PLA itself talks about some of the deficiencies in its capability," she said. "And obviously, the war in Ukraine highlights some of the challenges that China could face; it is certainly much harder to launch a war 100 miles across a body of water than it is across land borders, (such as those) between Russia and Ukraine," she said. She noted that the strong Ukrainian resistance may be giving Taiwan's people reason to fight for their land. "Given how Ukraine has really demonstrated a very high morale and willingness to defend its freedoms ... I think that this is likely to change the calculus of not only military leaders in China, but hopefully also of (Chinese leader) Xi Jinping personally," she said. O'Brien, the University of St. Andrews professor, wrote in The Spectator this year that any war over Taiwan would lead to devastating losses on all sides, something that should make their leaders tread carefully before committing troops. Any other option? Of course, the PLA has options other than a full-blown invasion. These include taking outlying Taiwanese islands or imposing a quarantine on the main island, Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow wrote last year in a report for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Non-Unique: New initiatives to contain China in the Asia-Pacific now

McLaren, 6-1, 22, Patrick McLaren has a background in mathematics and currently works in management in the tech industry. He is a graduate student at Harvard Extension studying International Relations & Security, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/us-china-competition-indo-pacific-just-beginning-202749, The U.S.-China Competition for the Indo-Pacific Is Just Beginning

The Asia-Pacific has become one of the most prominent focal points for both the West and China. Overwhelmingly, the central themes of engagement in the region relate to trade and development, security cooperation, and global governance. It is within this context that both the West and China each seek to strengthen their respective ties to, and influence within, the region in furtherance of their respective national interests. Although markedly diminished in its engagement with the Asia-Pacific during the Trump administration, the United States has sought to dramatically reorient its approach to the region under the Biden administration. In 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced a new security partnership, AUKUS, in which they will pursue the development of new deterrence capabilities for Australia and facilitate greater innovation through technical collaboration. Under the Biden administration, high-level representation to the region has again become a regular occurrence as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Vice President Kamala Harris, and most recently, President Joe Biden, have each made visits to the region. At the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in mid-May, the United States announced several commitments to ASEAN and the broader region through support for development and climate action, as well as deeper and more comprehensive trade opportunities. Major U.S. partners have also stepped up their engagement in the region, largely in concert with Washington. Leaders from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States recently met at the fourth Quad Summit in Japan to underscore their joint commitment to regional peace and stability and announced a new initiative to promote maritime security, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), in addition to efforts to support global health, climate, space, cybersecurity, and infrastructure. For the West, these developments are some of the latest in a series of coordinated efforts focused on the Asia-Pacific. This week, in Japan, Biden announced the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), with twelve other states initially participating alongside the United States. Most recently, at an event held by the Asia Society, Secretary Blinken outlined the Biden administration’s policy towards China. The administration’s policy seeks to “invest, align, and compete” across key partnerships and institutions to support global governance and cooperation for peace and security, in response to what the United States considers China’s growing threats to regional and global stability

China aggression toward Taiwan increasing

Agence France Press, May 31, 2022, The Guardian, Taiwan scrambles jets after China makes largest incursion into air defence zone since January, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/31/taiwan-scrambles-jets-after-china-makes-largest-incursion-into-air-defence-zone-since-january

China has made the second largest incursion into Taiwan’s air defence zone this year with Taipei reporting 30 jets entering the area, including more than 20 fighters. Taiwan’s defence ministry said late on Monday it had scrambled its own aircraft and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the latest Chinese activity. In recent years, Beijing has begun sending large sorties into Taiwan’s defence zone to signal dissatisfaction, and to keep Taipei’s ageing fighter fleet regularly stressed. Self-ruled democratic Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary. The US last week accused Beijing of raising tensions over the island, with secretary of state Antony Blinken specifically mentioning aircraft incursions as an example of “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity”. Blinken’s remarks came after US president Joe Biden appeared to break decades of US policy when in response to a question on a visit to Japan he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China. But the White House has since insisted its policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether or not it would intervene has not changed. Monday’s incursion was the largest since 23 January, when 39 planes entered the air defence identification zone, or ADIZ. The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace but includes a far greater area that overlaps with part of China’s own air defence identification zone and even includes some of the mainland. A flight map provided by the Taiwanese defence ministry showed the planes entered the south-western corner of the ADIZ before they looping back out again. Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes into its ADIZ, according to an AFP database – more than double the roughly 380 carried out in 2020. The highest number of aircraft China has sent in a single day was 56 on 4 October 2021. That month saw a record 196 incursions, mostly around China’s annual national day celebrations. So far in 2022 Taiwan has reported 465 incursions, a near 50% increase on the same period last year. The sheer number of sorties has put the air force under immense pressure, and it has suffered a string of fatal accidents in recent years. On Tuesday local media reported that a pilot had died after crashing a trainer jet in southern Kaohsiung. It is not the first deadly crash this year – in January one of Taiwan’s most advanced fighter jets, an F-16V, plunged into the sea. Last March, Taiwan grounded all military aircraft after a pilot was killed and another went missing when their fighters collided mid-air in the third fatal crash in less than six months.

Current US policy is one of strategic ambiguity

Anthony Cowden is the Managing Director of Stari Consulting Services, May 28, 2022, The Constitutional Case Against Defending Taiwan, https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2022/05/28/the_constitutional_case_against_defending_taiwan_834748.html

Well, he’s done it again.  For the third time, President Biden has unmistakably said that the United States would employ military force in the defense of Taiwan if China were to try and seize that island by force.[i]  And for the third time, Administration officials have had to “walk back” his comments and try to ensure the world that the policy of “strategic ambiguity” with regards to Taiwan remains in place.  And, again, much ink has been spilt discussing the issue.[ii]

Current force levels will not support an invasion by China

International New York Times, May 26, 2022, US speeds up reshaping of Taiwan’s defence to deter China, https://www.deccanherald.com/international/us-speeds-up-reshaping-of-taiwan-s-defence-to-deter-china-1112509.html, US speeds up reshaping of Taiwan’s defence to deter China

Chinese leaders face a complicated calculus in weighing whether their military can seize Taiwan without incurring an overwhelming cost. A Pentagon report released last year said China’s military modernization eff ort continued to widen thecapability gap between the country’s forces and the Taiwanese military. But the Chinese military has not fought a war since 1979, when it attacked Vietnam in an offensive that ended in a loss or stalematefor China. To take Taiwan, the Chinese navy would need to cross more than 100 miles of water and make anamphibious assault, an operation that is much more complex than anything Putin has tried inUkraine. And in any case, perceived capabilities on paper might not translate to performance in the field. “As we have learned in Ukraine, no one really knows how hard a military will fight until a war actuallystarts,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral and former dean of the Fletcher School ofLaw and Diplomacy at Tuft s University. “China is probably not ready to take a risk of an invasion with current force levels and capabilities in terms of attacking Taiwan.”

Turn – More tech coop with Taiwan means more tech theft by China

Reuters, 5-26, 2022, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/taiwan-raids-chinese-firms-latest-092556768.html, Taiwan raids Chinese firms in latest crackdown on chip engineer-poaching

Taiwan authorities raided ten Chinese companies suspected of illegally poaching chip engineers and other tech talent this week, the island's Investigation Bureau said on Thursday, the latest crackdown on Chinese firms to protect its chip supremacy. Home to chipmaker giant TSMC and accounting for the majority of the world's most advanced semiconductor manufacturing capacity, Taiwan has ramped up a campaign to counter illegal poaching by Chinese companies in what the island sees as a threat to its chip expertise. The bureau said it raided 10 Chinese companies or their R&D centers which operate in Taiwan without approval earlier this week. It said nearly 70 people have been summoned for questioning in a joint crackdown across several cities including the capital Taipei and the island's semiconductor hub, Hsinchu. "The illegal poaching of Taiwan's high-tech talent by Chinese companies has badly impacted our international competitiveness and endangered our national security," the bureau said in a statement. t said technology is vital to Taiwan's security and urged people to "stay high on alert" for such Chinese activities. The bureau did not name the companies currently being investigated, adding they included integrated circuit design firms and electronics parts makers. China's Taiwan Affairs Office has not responded to Reuters' requests for comment on the issue. The Investigation Bureau has launched investigations into around 100 Chinese companies suspected of illegally poaching technology talents, a senior bureau official told Reuters last month. China's scramble for chip engineering talent has intensified amid Beijing's goal of achieving self-reliance in advanced chips, especially after a trade war with the former Trump administration in the United States. Taiwanese law prohibits Chinese investment in some parts of the semiconductor supply chain, including chip design, and requires reviews for other areas such as chip packaging, making it very difficult for Chinese chip companies to operate on the island legally. In March, the bureau raided eight Chinese companies aimed at countering what it said was "the Chinese Communist Party's illegal activities of talent-poaching and secret-stealing".

China already alienated by the current US commitment, no reason an FTA would be worse

NDTV, 5-26, 22, China Announces Military Drills Around Taiwan Despite Biden's Warning, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-announces-military-drills-around-taiwan-despite-us-president-joe-bidens-warning-3010079

China on Wednesday announced military drills around Taiwan, days after US President Joe Biden said Washington would intervene militarily if Beijing tried to reunify with the island by force. China continues to regard Taiwan as its province even after decades of separate governance. Chinese President Xi Jinping even threatened to take the island, if needed. "The recent patrol and training exercises by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) around the Taiwan Island were necessary actions against the collusion between Taiwan and the United States," a Chinese defence spokesperson was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Wednesday. Tan Kefei, the spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, said that the PLA Eastern Theater Command had recently organized a joint war-preparedness alert patrol and combat training exercises involving troops of multiple services and arms in the waters and airspace around the Taiwan Island. "These are necessary actions taken targeting the collusion between Taiwan and the United States, and conforming to the need of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Tan said. Seeking "Taiwan independence" is doomed to fail, and so is supporting such actions, Tan said, adding that by playing the "Taiwan card" to contain China, the United States is putting the situation in jeopardy. The PLA is on high alert and ready to take all necessary measures to resolutely thwart any external forces' interference and secessionist attempts for "Taiwan independence," he added. This strong reaction from China comes after Biden on Monday said that Washington is ready to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan in the event of invasion. Biden met with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan on Monday to advance cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues. During a joint press conference with the Japanese PM, Biden reaffirmed Washington's commitment to ensuring the security of the Taiwan Strait and preventing any change in the status quo unilaterally. When asked whether the US is ready to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied in the affirmative, adding that this is the commitment that the US has taken on. "We remain committed to supporting peace and stability in Taiwan Strait. The US stands firmly with Japan and other nations not to let that happen (China taking over Taiwan)," he said.

China threat to Taiwan increasing

David Frum,  5-24, 22, Why Biden Is Right to End Ambiguity on Taiwan, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/biden-strategic-ambiguity-taiwan-gaffe-china/631644/

Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has progressively reneged on the second half of its strategic ambiguity. China has ordered bigger and bigger incursions into Taiwan’s air-defense zone. China has the means to mount a naval blockade of the island. It has mounted sustained and aggressive cyberattacks. Throughout, Chinese leaders have growled explicit threats of armed force. Taiwanese officials describe the present situation as the most dangerous of the past 40 years

Biden has ended strategic ambiguity related to Taiwan

David Frum,  5-24, 22, Why Biden Is Right to End Ambiguity on Taiwan, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/biden-strategic-ambiguity-taiwan-gaffe-china/631644/

“White House Walks Back Biden Taiwan Defense Claim for Third Time in Nine Months” was the patronizing headline the New York Post applied to its report on President Joe Biden’s Taiwan comments at a regional summit in Tokyo. The story line was preset: semi-senile president blurts unscripted comment, is corrected by his staff minders. But if you reread Biden’s repeated comments on Taiwan, you see a policy that is clear, considered, and consistent. In August 2021, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden whether withdrawal from Afghanistan might embolden China against Taiwan. Biden replied: There’s a fundamental difference between—between Taiwan, South Korea, NATO. We are in a situation where they are in—entities we’ve made agreements with based on not a civil war they’re having on that island or in South Korea, but on an agreement where they have a unity government that, in fact, is trying to keep bad guys from doin’ bad things to them. We have made—kept every commitment. We made a sacred commitment to Article Five that if in fact anyone were to invade or take action against our NATO allies, we would respond. Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with—Taiwan. It’s not even comparable to talk about that. In October, Biden restated his commitment even more forcefully and clearly, this time at a CNN town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper. An audience member asked, “China just tested a hypersonic missile. What will you do to keep up with them militarily? And can you vow to protect Taiwan?” Biden answered: Yes and yes. We are—militarily, China, Russia, and the rest of the world knows we have the most powerful military in the history of the world. Don’t worry about whether we’re going to—they’re going to be more powerful. What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that will put them in a position where there—they may make a serious mistake. And so, I have had—I have spoken and spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other world leader has. That’s why you have—you know, you hear people saying, “Biden wants to start a new Cold War with China.” I don’t want a Cold War with China. I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back. We are not going to change any of our views. Anderson Cooper then intervened to clarify: “So, are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if—” Biden: Yes. Cooper: China attacked? Biden: Yes, we have a commitment to do that. Now, in May 2022, Biden has repeated the pledge. At a news conference Monday in Tokyo, Nancy Cordes, of CBS News, asked, “You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” Biden answered, “Yes.” Cordes followed up: “You are?” Biden answered: “That’s the commitment we made.” Not only the Biden-skeptical New York Post but other media organizations, too, have treated these words as an unintended mess that he’d need to “untangle,” as the CBS anchor John Dickerson phrased it. But if there is a tangle, it’s not Biden’s fault. U.S. policy toward Taiwan is often described as “strategic ambiguity,” usually understood as “The U.S. will defend Taiwan but won’t say so.” But behind this U.S. ambiguity has stood a prior Chinese ambiguity. China’s version of strategic ambiguity simultaneously: proclaimed Beijing’s theoretical sovereignty over Taiwan, but refrained from overt actions to assert that sovereignty. In return for that ambiguous Chinese policy, Taiwan would refrain from challenging China’s sovereignty claims and the U.S. would refrain from any formal commitment to Taiwan’s security. "Our global food system is broken" Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has progressively reneged on the second half of its strategic ambiguity. China has ordered bigger and bigger incursions into Taiwan’s air-defense zone. China has the means to mount a naval blockade of the island. It has mounted sustained and aggressive cyberattacks. Throughout, Chinese leaders have growled explicit threats of armed force. Taiwanese officials describe the present situation as the most dangerous of the past 40 years. So Biden is not leading this particular diplomatic two-step. Biden is not really initiating anything at all. As China jettisons its prior strategic ambiguity, so Biden has been pushed away from American strategic ambiguity. As Chinese threats of aggression have become more explicit, so, too, have U.S. promises of defense become more explicit. Biden was also pushed and pulled by two other factors. Donald Trump, in his presidency, also walked away from “strategic ambiguity” over Taiwan—but, in his case, toward outright abandonment of Taiwan. “Taiwan is like two feet from China. We are eight thousand miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a fucking thing we can do about it.” Those words were uttered by Trump in private, according to a book by the Washington Post reporter Josh Rogin. But Biden had to worry that Trump communicated his feelings to Xi in their private conversations. If so, the credibility of the American commitment needed to be reaffirmed by Trump’s successor. In another theater, the Russian invasion of Ukraine raised fresh questions about U.S. intentions. Ukraine was not a formal U.S. ally before the Russian invasion. The U.S. accordingly provided Ukraine with weapons and supplies to defend itself, but did not intervene directly. That careful delineation—no U.S. forces for non-ally Ukraine—had to raise questions within the Chinese leadership about whether the U.S. might follow a similar policy toward Taiwan, also not formally a U.S. ally. Biden may have felt it urgent to dispel any doubts on that score. Read: The lessons Taiwan is learning from Ukraine “Strategic ambiguity” was a policy initiated by President Jimmy Carter to assure China of respect while protecting Taiwan from invasion. It worked for a long time. But there was no guarantee that it would work forever. President Biden had good reason to worry that the four-decades-old policy was losing its effectiveness in the face of rising Chinese assertiveness. New times may call for new measures to keep the old peace. For all portrayals of Biden as decrepit and doddering, it’s worth observing that he launched his new approach at an ingeniously propitious moment. For China, with its people restive under COVID lockdown, its economy slumping toward zero growth and possibly outright recession, its authoritarian partner in Moscow entrapped in a losing war, this is about as shaky a moment as any since Xi assumed power nearly a decade ago. Biden laid down his new rules at a moment of unusual vulnerability for China. By the time the Chinese have a better opportunity to act, the more explicit U.S. policy will have become a settled fact. Biden’s aides are right, in a way, that he has not changed anything. As Biden said, the commitment was there before him. Now it’s just more visible than it used to be. His words in Tokyo were not a gaffe, not a blurt. They were a restatement of a message that needed to be heard, delivered at an opportune time.

Non-unique: US more confrontational toward China

Seung Min Kim, 5-23, 22, Washington Post, Biden takes aggressive posture toward China on Asia trip, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/23/biden-japan-taiwan-china/

President Biden opened the second chapter of his Asia tour Monday with moves — some choreographed, others perhaps not — signaling a more confrontational approach to China on multiple fronts as his administration looks to curb the influence of the world’s most populous nation. In a news conference Monday, Biden said the United States would defend Taiwan militarily if it came under attack by China — despite the U.S. policy of remaining vague on the subject — and that deterring Beijing was one reason Russian President Vladimir Putin must be punished for his “barbarism in Ukraine.” Later, his administration announced the outlines of a new trade framework that is meant to strengthen U.S. economic ties with other nations in the Indo-Pacific. Biden on Tuesday will also participate in a meeting of the Quad, the partnership made up of the United States, India, Japan and Australia that is in part meant to counter China’s power globally. Biden’s charm offensive seeks to bolster ties with South Korea, Indo-Pacific On Taiwan, a White House official said Biden simply had reemphasized a pledge made through a 1979 law that calls on the United States to provide Taiwan with the military means for self-defense. The United States retains a policy of strategic ambiguity toward the island, meaning it is deliberately unclear on what it would do when it comes to defending Taiwan. Both the official — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to clarify Biden’s comments — and the president said that U.S. stance has not changed. But taken together, Monday’s rhetoric and accompanying events underscored the Biden administration’s aggressive strategy to blunt the rising influence of China — as the president drew parallels between a potential China-Taiwan conflict and the war spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Russia has to pay a long-term price for that in terms of the sanctions that have been imposed,” Biden said during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at Akasaka Palace. “If in fact there’s a rapprochement met between … the Ukrainians and Russia, and these sanctions are not continued to be sustained in many ways, then what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting — attempting — to take Taiwan by force?” Though the president said he did not expect such an invasion, Biden said that China was “already flirting with danger” and that despite the United States’ “one China” policy, “that does not mean that China has the … jurisdiction to go in and use force to take over Taiwan.” “The idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force is just not — it’s just not appropriate,” Biden said. “It would dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.” Biden listens to other leaders during a launch event for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in Tokyo on May 23. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said her agency “sincerely welcomed” Biden’s comments, but the Chinese ministry’s spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed his government’s “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to them. Beijing claims Taiwan is an inalienable part of its territory. “No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will and formidable ability of the Chinese people,” Wang said at a regular press briefing, according to the state-run Global Times. At Monday’s summit, Biden and Kishida also reinforced their commitment to the alliance and their cooperation on responding to the Russian war. Japan has stepped up its foreign policy since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which triggered a deep alarm that has accelerated Japan’s ongoing debate over defense and security policies amid China’s growing territorial threat. Japan has been determined to show it can work with its Group of Seven counterparts to stand up to acts of force, out of fear that the lack of a strong response risks emboldening China’s growing assertiveness and the worsening of relations between China and Taiwan. Japan is now moving toward increasing its defense budget, which is a sensitive topic because of country’s militaristic past. The world’s third-largest economy, Japan has taken uncharacteristically swift steps to join Western allies in financially pressuring Russia and aiding Ukraine. Last week, Tokyo committed an additional $300 million in short-term support to Ukraine, on top of the more than $200 million it had already pledged. Japan accepted more than 1,000 people fleeing Ukraine — an eye-popping figure for a country that has historically been unfriendly to refugees. Kishida, elected prime minister in the fall, has received high marks at home for his decisions — 71.2 percent of the public supports his response to the Russian invasion, according to a survey released Sunday by Kyodo News, a Japanese outlet. Part of the U.S.-Japanese response to China’s rise is the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the contours of a new agreement that is designed to be a bulwark against China. The administration says it improves on the political and substantive shortcomings of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated during the Obama administration when Biden was vice president. The dozen countries in the new pact with the United States are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The countries account for 40 percent of global gross domestic product, according to the administration. “It is by any account the most significant international economic engagement that the United States has ever had in this region,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. The intended audience of the announcement was clear, even though Biden, during the launch event Monday, did not specifically name China. The representatives from the other 12 nations were also careful not to single out the country in their own remarks. Administration officials have pointed to economic data showing the U.S. economy had grown faster than China’s for the first time in four decades as proof that partnering with the United States would be a more alluring option for other Indo-Pacific nations. “Our view is that this is not about a zero-sum game with China,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. “It’s not about forcing countries to choose. But it is about offering a value proposition that we think countries are taking extremely seriously.” But many officials throughout Asia, including in Japan, are wary of the U.S. rollout of its new economic proposal. Japanese officials have said they are relieved to see the United States reassert itself economically in the Indo-Pacific region but remain frustrated about President Donald Trump’s 2017 pullout from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Although it was Trump who formally withdrew the United States from that agreement, it also lacked support from both parties on Capitol Hill and would not have been ratified. It’s unclear whether Congress would have to greenlight any eventual agreements created through this new trade framework. Standing next to Biden during Monday’s news conference at Akasaka Palace, Kishida repeatedly stressed Japan’s wish for the United States to rejoin the TPP. Meanwhile, many Asia-Pacific countries are already participating in a free-trade agreement involving China, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The framework released by the White House and the dozen other countries Monday does not include specific commitments or requirements of what each nation has to do to reap the benefits of the pact. Biden at Tokyo's Akasaka Palace on May 23. (Nicolas Datiche/Pool/SIPA/AP) The administration has also faced questions about why Taiwan was excluded from the initial list of participating countries. Last week, a bipartisan majority of 52 senators wrote to Biden, pressing him to ensure the self-governing island and U.S. trading partner was a part of the new framework and said doing so was an economic and military imperative. Excluding Taiwan “would significantly distort the regional and global economic architecture, run counter to U.S. economic interests, and allow the Chinese government to claim that the international community does not in fact support meaningful engagement with Taiwan,” stated the letter, which was written by the two leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sullivan said the administration will pursue “deeper” bilateral trade relations with Taiwan rather than including it in Tuesday’s framework because doing so “puts us in the best position for us to be able to enhance our economic partnership with Taiwan and also to carry IPEF forward with this diverse range of countries.” To bring countries from Southeast Asia, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), fully on board, the United States must provide more specifics about its vision, said Fukunari Kimura, economics professor at Keio University in Tokyo and chief economist of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia. Market access — lowering the barrier for trade activity with the United States — was an important incentive to convince Southeast Asian countries to join the TPP. “Together with like-minded countries, the U.S. must clearly specify the items that the IPEF would cover,” Kimura said. “To make the IPEF fly, it must secure the involvement of ASEAN. after he was sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who will participate in the Quad summit, said the meeting will send a message of “continuity in the way that we have respect for democracy and the way that we value our friendships and long-term alliances.”

Non-Unique: US commitment to defend Taiwan alienated China

Sam Meredith, 5-23, 22, CNBC, Biden says U.S. willing to use force to defend Taiwan — prompting backlash from China, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/23/biden-says-us-willing-to-use-force-to-defend-taiwan.html

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, prompting thanks from the democratic, self-ruled island — but sharp criticism from China. When asked at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida whether the U.S. would be prepared to defend Taiwan if attacked, Biden replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agree with the ‘one China’ policy. We signed on to it. All the attendant agreements [were] made from there. But the idea that that can be taken by force, just taken by force. It’s just not it’s just not appropriate.” On his first trip to Japan since taking office, Biden said it was not his expectation that such an event would happen or be attempted. Taiwan’s foreign ministry thanked Biden for reaffirming U.S. support for the island if Beijing invaded. However, China’s foreign ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to the remarks, before adding that Beijing has no room for compromise or concessions relating to matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity. “No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will, and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and do not stand against the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” China’s foreign ministry said. Taiwan and mainland China are separated by the Taiwan Strait, which is only about 100 miles wide (160 km) at its narrowest point. China claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and has been putting pressure on the democratic island to accept its rule. A break from ‘strategic ambiguity’ Biden’s comments appeared to break Washington’s long-held tradition of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, whereby the White House had been intentionally vague on whether it would come to the island’s aid if China invaded. The aim of this policy had been to ward off the mainland from taking military action, without the U.S. committing itself to war. A White House official said Biden’s comments did not reflect a policy shift. Under the “one China” policy, a cornerstone of diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing, the U.S. diplomatically acknowledges China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. However, the U.S. also maintains a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan, and Washington supplies military equipment to the island in accordance with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. This act does not require the U.S. to intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if China invades, but makes it a policy to ensure the island has the resources to defend itself and to deter Beijing from unilaterally unifying the island. China has stepped up its military provocations with Taiwan in recent years in an ostensible effort to intimidate what it sees as a rogue province into accepting Bejing’s demands to unify with the mainland. Taiwan, and the view of the island through the lens of Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine, came up several times throughout Biden’s press conference with Kishida. Japan’s leader said that the two countries’ position on Taiwan remains unchanged and “underscored the importance of peace and stability of Taiwan Straits, which is an indispensable element for peace and prosperity of international communities.” At the start of the year, one political analyst singled out the tense relationship between the U.S. and China over Taiwan as the top risk for Asia in 2022. Biden considering reducing tariffs on China Biden also said he was considering easing tariffs on Chinese imports. “We did not impose any of those tariffs that were imposed by the last administration and are under consideration,” he said. Biden’s comments come shortly after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had suggested it would be worth considering such steps given the potential impact it could have on lowering skyrocketing inflation.

Non-Unique: Quad alienates China

Nectar Gan, 5-23, 22, CNN, China is alarmed by the Quad. But its threats are driving the group closer together, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/23/china/quad-summit-china-threat-analysis-intl-hnk-mic/index.html

China is alarmed by the Quad. But its threats are driving the group closer together Hong Kong (CNN)When the United States, Japan, Australia and India first resuscitated their informal dialogue from a decade-long hiatus in late 2017, China was confident it would soon fail. "It seems there is never a shortage of headline-grabbing ideas," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said dismissively of the grouping in early 2018, months after it convened its first working-level meeting in Manila. "They are like the sea foam in the Pacific or Indian Ocean: they may get some attention, but soon will dissipate," Wang concluded. More than four years on, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue -- better known as "the Quad" -- is far from dissipating. Instead, it has only grown in momentum, profile and clout. Convened around the mantra of promoting a "free and open Indo-Pacific," the four countries have held two naval exercises since 2020. Their leaders have assembled three times since last year -- including an in-person summit at the White House. On Tuesday, the four leaders will meet face to face again in Tokyo. Their summit will be a highlight of Joe Biden's first trip to Asia as the US President, as he seeks to strengthen alliances and partnerships to counter China's growing influence in the region. The renewed activity has seen China's initial scorn turn into alarm, with Beijing viewing the grouping as part of Washington's attempt to encircle the country with strategic and military allies. Wang, the foreign minister, has decried the grouping as an "Indo-Pacific NATO," accusing it of "trumpeting the Cold War mentality" and "stoking geopolitical rivalry." That concern has only grown since the Ukraine crisis. Beijing's backing of Moscow has further damaged its global image, leaving it more isolated on the world stage. And that is not helped by China's insistence on a zero-Covid policy, in which stringent border restrictions are cutting the country off from a world that has largely moved on from the pandemic. While Biden travels the world to reinforce ties, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping hasn't left China in 25 months. Biden's latest flurry of diplomacy, with stops in South Korea and Japan, has particularly irked Beijing. "The Indo-Pacific strategy cooked up by the United States, in the name of 'freedom and openness,' is actually keen on forming cliques," Wang said Sunday as Biden wrapped up his trip to Seoul and headed to Tokyo. "It claims that it intends to 'change China's surrounding environment,' but its purpose is to contain China and make Asia-Pacific countries serve as 'pawns' of US hegemony," Wang added. But experts stress that the Quad is not an Asian NATO and neither does it aspire to become one. Instead, they say its flexibility as an informal forum allows it to build more partnerships and expand areas for cooperation -- including on the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that Biden is expected to launch in Tokyo. "The Quad is trying to emphasize that it has a positive agenda, which is much more about delivering what the Indo-Pacific region needs -- versus becoming an anti-China, NATO-like entity, which is a reputation that it's been trying very hard to combat in the region," said Kristi Govella, deputy director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund. The driving force behind the Quad China's initial dismissal of the Quad was partly based on precedent. A previous iteration of the Quad -- proposed in 2007 by Japan's then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- lasted barely a year due to a divergence of interests and pressure from Beijing.

China takeover of Taiwan means domination of Asia

Ellie Cook, 5-22, 22, The Sun, China committed to reunification: Expert pinpoints when Beijing will try to attack Taiwan, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1614144/china-news-taiwan-reunification-beijing-taipei-xi-jinping-update

Although Taiwan remains on the Chinese “agenda”, is not the “immediate” focus of a Beijing preoccupied with the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is not China’s “immediate” priority simply because “they don’t have the capabilities to take Taiwan”, Professor Tsang explained. He added: “If and when they have the capability, then it will move up the agenda, but they don’t have the capacity to take Taiwan, probably not for another decade.” Much of this rests on Xi Jinping’s leadership, Professor Tsang commented, because Xi “has not shown himself to be reckless”. Beijing considers itself to be the only government of China and its territories (Image: Getty) He continued: “For China to start a war over Taiwan now, would be reckless, because they will lose.” But when China does make that crucial move, as it has always warned it will, and it succeeds, the entire region “will have to basically accept Chinese hegemony”, Professor Tsang warned. He predicted: “If China takes Taiwan against the wishes of the United States, the South China Sea will fall in place.” He added: “Even South Korea will have to do a deal with China. Even Japan will have to either go nuclear or do a deal with China, because even Japan could no longer rely on the Americans for security if the Americans turn out to be unreliable over Taiwan.” He said ominously: “They take Taiwan, everything changes in the region, and in fact, in the global balance of power.”

Many reasons China won’t attack Taiwan

Frank Felber, 5-22, 22, The Mercury, https://themercury.com/opinion/felber-is-taiwan-the-next-ukraine/article_b57bed5f-b2d4-5875-b02f-44afce26d652.html

With all of the focus on the war in Ukraine would this not be the best time for China to take Taiwan? One common trick in world politics is for a nation to take advantage of a focus on one issue in order to pursue controversial, usually aggressive actions elsewhere. The idea of China taking Taiwan while the rest of the world focuses on Ukraine is no different. On paper, China holds the advantage in a one-on-one fight. Looking at the active-duty personnel alone China possesses 2 million personnel compared to Taiwan’s 80,000. China also has a better legal standing than Russia does over Ukraine. Taiwan is not recognized as an independent state by the international community. Even the U.S. does not recognize it as an independent country. The Chinese government views Taiwan as a province in rebellion and nothing more. However, simply invading Taiwan is not as easy as the above might make it sound. Congress passed a resolution during the 1950s that guaranteed Taiwan’s sovereignty against aggressive acts by Mainland China.. This resolution has never been rescinded by Congress and is binding to the presidency. Another point of contention to consider is that the U.S. Navy patrols the straits of Taiwan. Any kind of action by the Chinese military has to contend with because the eality that if a U.S. ship is attacked it would be seen as an act of war against the United States. Neither nation would want such a war since it would threaten their substantial international trade, which now amounts to more than $660 billion. Another point to consider is the purchase of U.S. weapons by Taiwan. Since the Carter administration, every U.S. President has sold arms to Taiwan in amounts ranging as high as $18.28 billion during the Trump administration. The Biden administration has continued this policy with three sales thus far totaling $945 million. The weapons range from tanks to artillery to missile defense systems. There is a point of international economics that needs to be taken into account, and it could have the rest of the world demanding China’s leadership on a plate. At 90 percent of the total supply, Taiwan is the world’s largest producer of semiconductor chips, and those chips practically run all of the different kinds of military weapons to computers. If China were to invade, this supply would be cut — at least for the period between the onset of conflict and a Chinese takeover, if not longer. Such a disruption would create a shortage that no nation would stand for, at least not for long. This economic hold Taiwan has on the world might be its greatest defense since the international trade market essentially runs on the principles of the free-market philosophy. In essence, by having this hold Taiwan can dissuade China from invading. One final point concerns the geography of the island itself. While the western half is mostly plains and not as defensible, the Eastern half is mountainous. Arguably even if the Chinese army can capture the cities on the western half of the island clearing out the Taiwanese military from the Eastern half might take decades. This is the same problem the U.S. faced in Afghanistan since the mountains provided cover and a place to regroup. More to the point hasn’t Taiwan considered this very possibility for decades now? Would Taiwan allow itself to be deluded into the idea that a peaceful reunification is the only option? Would the Chinese government not take these factors into consideration before any invasion takes place? The Communist party of China can be labeled a lot of things but reckless is not one of them, particularly if their control on power can be threatened. An invasion of Taiwan could do just that

Turn – If we win the FTA results in a war, this turns their semiconductor and supply chain arguments

Frank Felber, 5-22, 22, The Mercury, https://themercury.com/opinion/felber-is-taiwan-the-next-ukraine/article_b57bed5f-b2d4-5875-b02f-44afce26d652.html

There is a point of international economics that needs to be taken into account, and it could have the rest of the world demanding China’s leadership on a plate. At 90 percent of the total supply, Taiwan is the world’s largest producer of semiconductor chips, and those chips practically run all of the different kinds of military weapons to computers. If China were to invade, this supply would be cut — at least for the period between the onset of conflict and a Chinese takeover, if not longer. Such a disruption would create a shortage that no nation would stand for, at least not for long.

US will work with Taiwan on supply chain and semiconductor issues now

Reuters, May 22, 2022, U.S. looking to deepen economic partnership with Taiwan, Sullivan says, https://news.yahoo.com/u-looking-deepen-economic-partnership-082130749.html

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - The United States is looking to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan, including on high-tech issues, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday, en route to Japan with President Joe Biden. During his first trip to Japan since taking office, Biden will participate in a summit of the "Quad" grouping of countries, meeting with leaders of Japan, India and Australia. Issues of regional security will be high on the agenda. "We do not want to see unilateral changes to the status quo and we certainly don't want to see military aggression. And we do want that message coming not just from us, but from a range of allies and partners, both in the region and beyond," Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One. "We are looking to deepen our economic partnership with Taiwan including on high technology issues, including on semiconductors and supply chains."

US dependent on China’s supply chains now

Kiss, 5-21, 21, Lilla Nóra Kiss, PhD., is a visiting scholar at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, Russia’s invasion presents an opportunity for the United States to reduce its economic exposure to China before it’s too late, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/war-ukraine-reveals-how-economic-dependency-kills-202502

The terrible war that is raging at NATO’s eastern gates for the sovereign state of Ukraine has shed light on what could happen when countries develop a high degree of dependency on another country. It is striking how a parallel can be drawn between the United States’ reliance on China’s supply chains and the European Union’s energy exposure to Russia. Economic dependence has serious consequences. Although the West won the Cold War and with that solidified its leading economic and ideological status quo, it has turned a blind eye to the long-term maintenance of the new world order. The West made mistakes by underestimating the economic and ideological potential of “once upon a time empires” such as Russia and China. First, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States and Western Europe no longer perceived Russia—governed by a KGB officer relying on the same security state that kept the Communist Party in power—as a credible threat to the old continent. Similarly, the West ignored China’s potential as a global actor. The West made itself believe that Russia—after seven decades of entrenched Communism—would change its tracks overnight and follow Western values. Russia did not. However, Moscow learned to make itself appealing to the West both economically and politically. For example, Russia opened up to Western investments and entered into international organizations (the United Nations, Council of Europe), but it remained the same Orwellian system of comrades in the core. In comparison, China presented a similar dog and pony show towards the West without formally changing its Communist system. For example, Beijing established Special Economic Zones (1980-84) to encourage foreign investments by taxation and joined the UN and the World Trade Organization as well. In addition to political mistakes, the West did not make the required effort to keep all of its fronts balanced. The United States treated Western Europe as a partner, but the protective umbrella of NATO also led it to a false perception that Europe’s peace and security were granted. As a result, Western Europe made decisions solely upon its own short-term market interests. For example, it ignored the Kennedy administration’s alarm bells in the 1960s regarding the energy coming through the Friendship Pipeline from Russia, and Europe was not a partner in the Reagan administration’s sanctions and embargo of the Trans-Siberian Pipeline in the 1980s either. More recently, the highly debated Nord Stream and Nord Stream II pipelines—running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany—further increased Europe’s exposure to Russia. Europe’s dependency on Russia was exacerbated when the formerly socialist countries of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region joined the European Union in 2004. Although CEE states’ primary goal was to flee to the West at the earliest opportunity (to join the EU and NATO and to strengthen their sovereignty), they alone could not initiate Europe’s detachment from Russian energy. Consequently, the entire EU has created an enormous energy dependency on the East. While the old continent only imported 6 percent of its oil from the Soviet bloc in the 1960s, today, Russia accounts for about 40 percent of Europe’s gas imports, 26.9 percent of its imported crude oil, and almost half of its solid-fuel supplies.  On the other hand, the United States should realize that, like Europe, it has also become overdependent on another nation. Recent decades have shown that China is playing an ever-increasing role in the global economy and, consequently, America’s economy. Just as the utilization of reasonable Russian energy in Europe, the Chinese economy and supply chains offer short-term benefits to the United States but develop long-term dependence on Chinese markets. Unfortunately, American leadership has been less vigilant about national independence and has continued making decisions that resemble that of how Europe thinks about Russian energy. Recently, the United States has not only continued to ignore the risk of dependency on Chinese supply chains but exacerbated its reliance on Chinese markets by mandating such industrial developments that China primarily supplies, e.g., investments in solar, wind power, and batteries needed for electric vehicles Additionally, the United States is exposed to China on another front that perhaps is even more alarming: U.S. debt ownership. China consistently holds more than $1 trillion of the U.S. national debt. This influences the United States’ capability to react swiftly to foreign threats. The Russian war in Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call for the United States. The lesson is simple: economic dependency is Russian roulette and could have fatal consequences. Unfortunately, Western European countries—such as Germany—did not consider energy dependence a real security risk until Russia invaded Ukraine. After that, it became the foreign policy aim of top priority for the Ursula von der Leyen-led European Commission, but it is late and painful for the European economy. As the leading economic power in the world, the United States has the responsibility to incentivize the development of balanced economies and its own national interests to keep its dependencies checked. Fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining: it is clear that dependency in the most critical sectors is a problem only if there is no alternative solution present. Otto von Bismarck said, “Only fools learn from their own mistakes. The wise learn from the mistakes of others.” Russia’s invasion presents an opportunity for the United States to reduce its economic exposure to China before it’s too late.

Taiwan war goes nuclear; the US needs to strengthen its deterrence relationship with Taiwan to prevent it

PettyJohn & Wasser,  May 20, 2022, STACIE L. PETTYJOHN is a senior fellow and director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security; BECCA WASSER is a fellow in the defense program and co-lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security, Wargaming Reveals How a U.S.-Chinese Conflict Might Escalate, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2022-05-20/fight-over-taiwan-could-go-nuclear

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised the specter of nuclear war, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has placed his nuclear forces at an elevated state of alert and has warned that any effort by outside parties to interfere in the war would result in “consequences you have never seen.” Such saber-rattling has understandably made headlines and drawn notice in Washington. But if China attempted to forcibly invade Taiwan and the United States came to Taipei’s aid, the threat of escalation could outstrip even the current nerve-wracking situation in Europe.

A recent war game, conducted by the Center for a New American Security in conjunction with the NBC program “Meet the Press,” demonstrated just how quickly such a conflict could escalate. The game posited a fictional crisis set in 2027, with the aim of examining how the United States and China might act under a certain set of conditions. The game demonstrated that China’s military modernization and expansion of its nuclear arsenal—not to mention the importance Beijing places on unification with Taiwan—mean that, in the real world, a fight between China and the United States could very well go nuclear.

Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway republic. If the Chinese Communist Party decides to invade the island, its leaders may not be able to accept failure without seriously harming the regime’s legitimacy. Thus, the CCP might be willing to take significant risks to ensure that the conflict ends on terms that it finds acceptable. That would mean convincing the United States and its allies that the costs of defending Taiwan are so high that it is not worth contesting the invasion. While China has several ways to achieve that goal, from Beijing’s perspective, using nuclear weapons may be the most effective means to keep the United States out of the conflict.

China is several decades into transforming its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into what the Chinese President Xi Jinping has called a “world-class military” that could defeat any third party that comes to Taiwan’s defense. China’s warfighting strategy, known as “anti-access/area denial,” rests on being able to project conventional military power out several thousand miles in order to prevent the American military, in particular, from effectively countering a Chinese attack on Taiwan. Meanwhile, a growing nuclear arsenal provides Beijing with coercive leverage as well as potentially new warfighting capabilities, which could increase the risks of war and escalation.

China has historically possessed only a few hundred ground-based nuclear weapons. But last year, nuclear scholars at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Federation of American Scientists identified three missile silo fields under construction in the Xinjiang region. The Financial Times reported that China might have carried out tests of hypersonic gliders as a part of an orbital bombardment system that could evade missile defenses and deliver nuclear weapons to targets in the continental United States. The U.S. Department of Defense projects that by 2030, China will have around 1,000 deliverable warheads--more than triple the number it currently possesses. Based on these projections, Chinese leaders may believe that as early as five years from now the PLA will have made enough conventional and nuclear gains that it could fight and win a war to unify with Taiwan.

A fight between China and the United States could very well go nuclear.

Our recent war game—in which members of Congress, former government officials, and subject matter experts assumed the roles of senior national security decision makers in China and the United States—illustrated that a U.S.-China war could escalate quickly. For one thing, it showed that both countries would face operational incentives to strike military forces on the other’s territory. In the game, such strikes were intended to be calibrated to avoid escalation; both sides tried to walk a fine line by attacking only military targets. But such attacks crossed red lines for both countries, and produced a tit-for-tat cycle of attacks that broadened the scope and intensity of the conflict.

For instance, in the simulation, China launched a preemptive attack against key U.S. bases in the Indo-Pacific region. The attacks targeted Guam, in particular, because it is a forward operating base critical to U.S. military operations in Asia, and because since it is a territory, and not a U.S. state, the Chinese team viewed striking it as less escalatory than attacking other possible targets. In response, the United States targeted Chinese military ships in ports and surrounding facilities, but refrained from other attacks on the Chinese mainland. Nevertheless, both sides perceived these strikes as attacks on their home territory, crossing an important threshold. Instead of mirror-imaging their own concerns about attacks on their territory, each side justified the initial blows as military necessities that were limited in nature and would be seen by the other as such. Responses to the initial strikes only escalated things further as the U.S. team responded to China’s moves by hitting targets in mainland China, and the Chinese team responded to Washington’s strikes by attacking sites in Hawaii.


One particularly alarming finding from the war game is that China found it necessary to threaten to go nuclear from the start in order to ward off outside support for Taiwan. This threat was repeated throughout the game, particularly after mainland China had been attacked. At times, efforts to erode Washington’s will so that it would back down from the fight received greater attention by the China team than the invasion of Taiwan itself. But China had difficulty convincing the United States that its nuclear threats were credible. In real life, China’s significant and recent changes to its nuclear posture and readiness may impact other nations’ views, as its nuclear threats may not be viewed as credible given its stated doctrine of no first use, its smaller but burgeoning nuclear arsenal, and lack of experience making nuclear threats. This may push China to preemptively detonate a nuclear weapon to reinforce the credibility of its warning.

China might also resort to a demonstration of its nuclear might because of constraints on its long-range conventional strike capabilities. Five years from now, the PLA still will have a very limited ability to launch conventional attacks beyond locations in the “second island chain” in the Pacific; namely, Guam and Palau. Unable to strike the U.S. homeland with conventional weapons, China would struggle to impose costs on the American people. Up until a certain point in the game, the U.S. team felt its larger nuclear arsenal was sufficient to deter escalation and did not fully appreciate the seriousness of China’s threats. As a result, China felt it needed to escalate significantly to send a message that the U.S. homeland could be at risk if Washington did not back down. Despite China’s stated “no-first use” nuclear policy, the war game resulted in Beijing detonating a nuclear weapon off the coast of Hawaii as a demonstration. The attack caused relatively little destruction, as the electromagnetic pulse only damaged the electronics of ships in the immediate vicinity but did not directly impact the U.S. state. The war game ended before the U.S. team could respond, but it is likely that the first use of a nuclear weapon since World War II would have provoked a response.

The most likely paths to nuclear escalation in a fight between the United States and China are different from those that were most likely during the Cold War. The Soviet Union and the United States feared a massive, blot-from-the-blue nuclear attack, which would precipitate a full-scale strategic exchange. In a confrontation over Taiwan, however, Beijing could employ nuclear weapons in a more limited way to signal resolve or to improve its chances of winning on the battlefield. It is unclear how a war would proceed after that kind of limited nuclear use and whether the United States could de-escalate the situation while still achieving its objectives.


The clear lesson from the war game is that the United States needs to strengthen its conventional capabilities in the Indo-Pacific to ensure that China never views an invasion of Taiwan as a prudent tactical move. To do so, the United States will need to commit to maintaining its conventional military superiority by expanding its stockpiles of long-range munitions and investing in undersea capabilities. Washington must also be able to conduct offensive operations inside the first and second island chains even while under attack. This will require access to new bases to distribute U.S. forces, enhance their survivability, and ensure that they can effectively defend Taiwan in the face of China’s attacks.

Moreover, the United States needs to develop an integrated network of partners willing to contribute to Taiwan’s defense. Allies are an asymmetric advantage: the United States has them, and China does not. The United States should deepen strategic and operational planning with key partners to send a strong signal of resolve to China. As part of these planning efforts, the United States and its allies will need to develop war-winning military strategies that do not cross Chinese red-lines. The game highlighted just how difficult this task may be; what it did not highlight is the complexity of developing military strategies that integrate the strategic objectives and military capacities of multiple nations.

Moving forward, military planners in the United States and in Washington’s allies and partners must grapple with the fact that, in a conflict over Taiwan, China would consider all conventional and nuclear options to be on the table. And the United States is running out of time to strengthen deterrence and keep China from believing an invasion of Taiwan could be successful. The biggest risk is that Washington and its friends choose not to seize the moment and act: a year or two from now, it might already be too late.

Increasing ties to Taiwan risks conflict with China

Bloomberg, May 18, 2022, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/china-warns-us-a-dangerous-situation-forming-over-taiwan/ar-AAXrE1A, China Warns US a ‘Dangerous Situation’ Forming Over Taiwan

(Bloomberg) -- China’s top diplomat again warned the US over its increased support for Taiwan, showing the island democracy remains a major sticking point between the world’s biggest economies as Beijing sent more military aircraft toward the island. “If the US side insists on playing the Taiwan card and goes further and further down the wrong road, it will certainly lead to a dangerous situation,” Yang Jiechi, Beijing’s top diplomat, said in a phone call with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Yang said Washington should “have a clear understanding of the situation,” according to a statement posted online by his nation’s Foreign Ministry. “China will certainly take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests,” he added. The White House issued a short statement on the Wednesday call, saying the pair “focused on regional security issues and nonproliferation.” They also discussed Russia’s war against Ukraine and specific issues in U.S.-China relations, it added. The Yang-Sullivan call was the most high-level contact between the US and China since Joe Biden and Xi Jinping spoke in March, their first conversation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ties have remained frosty since then, with the nations sparring over Vladimir Putin, democracy in Hong Kong, forced labor allegations in Xinjiang and a range of other issues. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on its website that four People’s Liberation Army aircraft, including a pair of J-16 fighter jets, entered its air defense identification zone on Wednesday, skirting close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait. China frequently lashes out at the US over its backing for Taiwan, saying it amounts to interference in its internal affairs. Xi told Biden in the March call that the issue could “have a disruptive impact on the relationship between the two countries” if it was not properly handled, and has referred to China’s quest to gain control of the democratically ruled island as a “historic mission.” Earlier this week, Admiral Michael Gilday, the top American naval officer, said Taiwan must prepare itself against potential Chinese aggression through military deterrence that includes getting the right weapons and training. Gilday said this was the a “big lesson learned and a wakeup call” following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why Taiwan Is the Biggest Risk for a U.S.-China Clash: QuickTake The US has stepped up its backing for Taiwan since the war in Ukraine started, with a group of senior senators including Republican Lindsey Graham visiting last month. China responded to that trip by conducting air and naval training near the island. Last week, the State Department updated a Taiwan factsheet posted on its website, dropping a reference to not supporting the island’s independence, and describing it as “a leading democracy and a technological powerhouse.” It also said Taiwan was a key partner in the semiconductor industry and “other critical supply chains.” On Wednesday, more than 50 senators signed a letter urging Biden to include Taiwan as a partner in the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, part of Washington’s efforts to counter China’s clout in Asia. Biden will hold a summit in Tokyo with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia as part of a trip to Asia that begins later this week. Those four nations form a grouping known as the Quad that is largely aimed at countering China’s influence. While the government of President Tsai Ing-wen asserts Taiwan is already a de facto independent nation in need of wider international recognition, Beijing claims it as part of its territory that must be brought under control by force if necessary. Tsai has played down worries Russia’s invasion could trigger a similar crisis for Taiwan in the near term. One of the reasons for that is the leadership in Beijing wants domestic stability before a twice-a-decade congress this year that is likely to hand Xi a precedent-defying third term in power.

Western response to the Ukraine deters China from attacking Taiwan

Stacey, May 18, 2022, Dr. Jeffrey A. Stacey is a former official in the Obama Administration and author of Integrating Europe. His forthcoming book is entitled, Full Spectrum Warfare: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and the Fight for Global Democracy, Has Western Aid for Ukraine Deterred China in Asia?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/has-western-aid-ukraine-deterred-china-asia-202462

By responding to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s gamble with unexpected unity and strength, equally unintentionally, the Western allies have not only weakened Russia but appear to have deterred China from attacking Taiwan. Russia has stymied its ally China, unintentionally but perhaps definitively. China had every intention of following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this spring with a takeover of Taiwan. However, by responding to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s gamble with unexpected unity and strength, equally unintentionally, the Western allies have not only weakened Russia but appear to have deterred China from attacking Taiwan. President Xi Jinping endorsed Russia’s plan when Putin visited Xi during the Winter Olympics, hatching up an understanding that each in succession would try to take advantage of their mutual misperception of the West’s weakness. To China’s considerable dismay, however, it watched the United States lead a vaunted global coalition against Russia in defense of a country it was not formally obligated by treaty to defend. By contrast, China is well aware that the United States has a formal defense treaty with Taiwan. Chinese academics often provide an early tell as to what Xi and his coterie are planning in private. According to these tea leaves, China has been thwarted and its elites are distraught. In private chat rooms, Chinese generals are bemoaning their forces’ lack of battlefield experience, along with their perceived inability to win a war of information with the West. China has backed away from its full-throated public support of Russia’s war on Ukraine, for with a mercantilist export-dominated economy it simply cannot afford to be cut off from Western markets. China knows it has suffered for its support of Russia, particularly in diplomatic terms. Recently, several key countries have openly opposed Beijing, starting with Lithuania but more recently including harsh rhetoric from Georgia, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Finland, and especially the Czech Republic as Sweden announced it is upgrading its office in Taipei while Britain finalized a new security agreement with Japan. Moreover, prior to the populists adding insult to injury by losing in France and Slovenia, China conducted a summit with the EU that was a failure across the board (followed by the EU reporting China to the World Trade Organization for coercive actions against Lithuania, which is working with Taiwan on joint semiconductor production). China went directly into damage control mode in Central Europe, hoping to keep alive what it refers to as the “16 + 1” framework—what it has imagined as a proto alliance with a sizable swath of democratic Europe. But the Czech foreign minister inter alia poured scorn all over China for its support of Russia and declared the death of “16 + 1.” This has only further deterred China from attacking Taiwan, as it then feebly attempted to revive the defunct EU-China investment deal of 2020 by rather ironically ratifying two International Labor Organization conventions on forced labor. China may have just signed a defense pact with the tiny Solomon Islands, but aside from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, China has few true allies to speak of. On the contrary, it is rapidly headed in the opposite direction having watched its reputation suffer even further when it announced an alliance with Russia “with no boundaries,” along with being the only powerful country not to denounce Russia over its war on democratic Ukraine. China was planning to wait to attack Taiwan, which it considers Chinese territory, until later this year after a series of major Communist Party meetings related to Xi’s quest to become the longest-serving president of China. Xi already engineered Party elevation of him to Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping’s level of official veneration and planned to cap off last week’s Party Congress with the subjugation of Taiwan in late summer to follow on from its successful stamping out of democracy in Hong Kong. However, China has made a series of additional stumbles that have contributed to its global demise, and further deterred it from attacking Taiwan. Recently, it supplied Russia-dominated Serbia with a cluster of ballistic missiles, pilloried Western democracies with Russian propaganda, failed to rein in North Korea, and bequeathed a deadly pandemic to the entirety of the world. At least China can credibly claim that its reputation is not suffering as badly as Russia’s, but it is not far behind. Even the lowly Solomon Islands told the West that it will not be hosting Chinese military installations. And of course, the Quad grouping of the United States, Australia, Japan, and India is rounding on China, along with the succession of Western naval armadas that recently sailed through the Taiwanese Strait (from the UK, France, and Germany) as yet another U.S. Navy destroyer just did. China has a lot to be held accountable for, but unlikely to go on this list is its erstwhile plan to take over Taiwan. The West and its allies need to maintain their vigilance with regard to China’s aggressive grand strategy. Xi may not get another chance, for China’s ability to project power abroad is already starting to suffer from its rapidly shrinking population at home.

Ukraine means US nuclear weapons won’t deter China from attacking Taiwan

DAVID SACKS is a Research Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, May 16, 2022, Foreign Affairs, What Is China Learning From Russia’s War in Ukraine?, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2022-05-16/what-china-learning-russias-war-ukraine

Potentially the most important lesson China has learned from war in Ukraine is that the United States will not contemplate direct military intervention against a nuclear-armed opponent. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States took direct military intervention off the table, with Biden warning that “direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III.” Chinese analysts and policymakers have likely concluded that Russia’s nuclear arsenal deterred the United States from intervening and that nuclear weapons create more room for conventional operations. Chinese strategists likely believe that this validates the country’s decision to invest heavily in increasing its nuclear arsenal, which the U.S. Department of Defense recently estimated will reach at least 1,000 warheads within the decade. Moreover, having witnessed Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling, China may conclude that it could deter U.S. intervention on Taiwan’s behalf by raising its nuclear alert level or conducting nuclear tests at the outset of a conflict.

Relations non-unique: WHO Bill

CGTN, May 16, 2022, China slams U.S. signing of bill related with Taiwan region, https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-05-16/China-slams-U-S-signing-of-bill-related-with-Taiwan-region-1a5eVZ1Gjq8/index.html

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday criticized the U.S. for signing a bill related to Taiwan region, saying it violates the U.S. commitment to the one-China principle. U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill that "directs the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO)." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the bill is a grave violation of the one-China principle, the three China-U.S. joint communiques, and a gross interference in China's internal affairs. The U.S. side has insisted on signing it into law, and China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition, Zhao said. It must follow the one-China principle for China's Taiwan region to take part in events organized by the WHO, Zhao stressed. The Chinese side urges the U.S. not to exploit the bill to help Taiwan region expand the so-called "international space," said Zhao. "Otherwise, China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits will be further undermined." The annual meeting of World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO, will start from May 22. Before 2016, Taiwan region was able to participate in the WHA under a special arrangement made through cross-Strait consultations on the basis of the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle upheld by both sides of the Taiwan Straits. However, since 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on the island has refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus and has been pivoting away from the one-China principle in pursuit of its secessionist agenda. The mainland has said those moves have damaged the political basis for Taiwan region's involvement in WHO activities. On Monday, Zhao said the Chinese central government attaches great importance to the health and well-being of the compatriots in Taiwan, and has made appropriate arrangements for its participation in global health affairs in accordance with the one-China principle.

China is committed to a military take-over of Taiwan

Bill Bostock, May 11, 2022, China is building a military capable of taking over Taiwan by 2030, US intel chief says, https://www.businessinsider.com/china-building-military-capable-take-taiwan-by-2030-avril-haines-2022-5

A top US intelligence official said China is set on building a military capable of taking over Taiwan by 2030. "It's our view that they are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan," Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Haines said the threat to Taiwan was "acute" between now and 2030. China has long said that Taiwan, an island nation of 23 million people located 100 miles off China's east coast, must become part of the mainland. Taiwan has been self-ruling for decades and fiercely maintains its independence. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies on Capitol Hill in April 2021. Avril Haines. Pool/Getty Images Experts and Western officials have kept a close eye on China since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, hoping to glean whether the global backlash and threat of sanctions has deterred Beijing. "What is hard to tell is how, for example, whatever lessons China learns coming out of the Russia-Ukraine crisis might affect that timeline," Haines said Tuesday. Senior Taiwanese officials fear China is building toward an invasion and the slogan "Today, Ukraine, tomorrow, Taiwan!" spread widely across Taiwanese social media after Russia invaded. Speaking on Saturday, CIA Director Bill Burns said the Ukraine crisis did not appear to have put China off entirely. "I don't think for a minute it's eroded Xi's determination over time to gain control over Taiwan but I think its something that's affecting their calculation about how and when they go about doing that," he said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The warnings from Haines and Burns came just days after Adm. Charles Richard, the head of the US Strategic Command, told US lawmakers that China "will likely use nuclear coercion to their advantage in the future." "Their intent is to achieve the military capability to reunify Taiwan by 2027," he said. Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, China said it was committed to "resolving the Taiwan question in the new era," euphemistically refer to China's plans to bring the island country under its control. The time frame for the "new era" remains unclear. The US has publicly shown its support for Taiwan since Russia invaded Ukraine, with President Joe Biden dispatching a group of former US officials to Taipei in March. In recent weeks, the Biden administration quietly told Taiwan to start ordering US weapons that will maximize its chances should China invade, such as missiles and smaller arms for asymmetric warfare, The New York Times reported. In January, Qin Gang, China's ambassador to the US, told NPR: "If Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the US, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the US ... in a military conflict." Chinese planes have carried out multiple training exercises near Taiwan's air space in recent months.

China domination of Taiwan collapses US leadership and global democracy

Chris Horton, 5-7, 22, The Atlantic, The Lessons Taiwan Is Learning From Ukraine, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/05/defend-taiwan-democracy-china-threat/629782/

To either side of the Atlantic, the repercussions of a successful Russian invasion of Ukraine are obvious: Countries once under Soviet sway would face a greater threat from Putin, who might continue his adventurism to shore up support as the Russian economy suffers from sanctions. Citizens in Western democracies are less aware, however, of the importance of Taiwan’s continued sovereignty to the current security order in Asia, and beyond. Geographically, China would control key sea lanes through the South and East China Seas, significantly increasing its ability to exert military pressure across the Western Pacific and political influence around the globe. Technologically, Beijing’s jurisdiction over the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities would put China in a commanding position to establish dominant military advantages, expand global economic dependencies, and set the standards for humankind’s technological future. Politically, “the loss of Taiwan would validate and propel Beijing’s narratives of the inevitability of American decline and the superiority of China’s ruthlessly efficient autocratic system over the incoherence and disunity of Western-style liberal democracy,” says Ivan Kanapathy, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments who previously served as the National Security Council’s deputy senior director for Asia and as a U.S. military attaché in Taipei. It would, he told me, “represent an epochal strategic shift of global power and influence.” As in Ukraine, the most important factor in Taiwan’s survival is the willingness of its people to defend its hard-earned democracy. Wang, the surgeon, told me that she’s already shifted from wanting to avoid getting involved in politics to feeling a sense of responsibility for doing so, and hopes that other Taiwanese do too. “I want to be more brave, and am more willing to speak up about my feelings for my country,” she said. “No matter what happens, I will choose to stand up for Taiwan.”

Ukraine doesn’t mean China will attack Taiwan

Symington W. Smithm, May 6, 2022, Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Has Little to Do With Taiwan, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/russia%E2%80%99s-invasion-ukraine-has-little-do-taiwan-202238

Comparisons that claim Vladimir Putin’s invasion is a turning point for Taiwan are simply not based on evidence. After a military buildup near the Ukrainian border starting in 2021, Russia moved its armed forces into separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine on February 22, 2022, and then launched a full-scale, still-ongoing invasion of Ukraine two days later. Russian president Vladimir Putin has been widely condemned by Western countries, including by entire blocs like the European Union, which have issued some of the toughest sanctions ever on Russia. News outlets and experts have been quick to publish a range of analyses drawing comparisons between the Russo-Ukrainian War and the ongoing tensions between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. This was not just limited to pundits or news outlets, however. World leaders also offered their own Taiwan takes. British prime minister Boris Johnson, for example, stated that “echoes” of the Ukraine situation “will be heard in Taiwan.” Although seemingly understandable, statements like these are the result of lazy thinking and bad history, often blurted out by those who have little experience with East Asia. In reality, there is little similarity between Ukraine and Taiwan, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry was quick to point this out. Regardless of where one personally stands on the matter, the Russian invasion of Ukraine means little when it comes to analyzing cross-strait relations. There are four reasons for this. First, there is geography and demographic makeup. In regard to the former, Taiwan is an island, though it is 100 miles off the coast of China. Ukraine, on the other hand, is bordered by seven different European countries, and its access to the world’s oceans is limited. This makes a serious difference when it comes to military strategy, logistics, and so forth. China cannot send troops over land as Russia has in its invasion of Ukraine. Due to geography, any campaign by Mainland China to retake Taiwan militarily would be naval in nature, which is significantly riskier and less straightforward than a spirited charge across open steppes. For the Russian military, Ukraine is a neighboring country whose climate is similar to parts of Russia’s own. It also has many entry points over land from which to invade. For China, Taiwan is instead an island fortressone that is now armed to the teeth and surrounded by waters that know no master. As any military strategist knows, battles over land and sea are entirely different. The Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan learned this lesson the hard way when, in the thirteenth century, despite having conquered as far west as Europe through a series of successful land wars, they attempted to conquer Japan. The endeavor was a disastrous failure. When it comes to demographics, the situation is, again, incredibly different. Ukraine, a country with an estimated population of around 41.2 million, is the eighth most populous country in Europe. Ethnically, it is inhabited by some 77 percent of Ukrainians—an ethnic group that is distinct from Russians. The remainder of the population is an assortment of different ethnic groups, including an estimated 17 percent Russian. This makes Ukraine and Russia two ethically different states. Compare this to Taiwan, which is highly similar ethnically to Mainland China. Taiwan is inhabited by a much smaller 23.45 million inhabitants, of whom 95 to 97 percent are Han Chinese. Second, there is history, language, and culture. Ukraine has a tumultuous history stretching far back into the Middle Ages. It’s been a kingdom, a vassal state of the Mongols, annexed by Polish King Casimir III the Great, existed as part of the Russian Empire, experienced rough periods as a Cossack Hetmanate, engaged in experiments with socialism as the Ukrainian People’s Republic, and even become a founding member of the Soviet Union. It is only relatively recently, in the eyes of history, that it became independent as we know it today. Compared to Ukraine, Taiwan’s history is much simpler. In the seventeenth century, Han Chinese immigration began to Taiwan when it was then a Dutch colony. It was annexed as early as 1683—339 years ago—by the Qing dynasty, and then ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. When the Qing were overthrown, the new Republic of China, run by the Nationalist government, took control of Taiwan in 1945. It then engaged in a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party, lost, and retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Mainland China and Taiwan thus share strong cultural and linguistic ties. These are deep enough that, despite the current political situation, Taiwanese residents who travel to the Mainland can attain a document popularly called the “Taiwan Compatriot Permit.” This permit accords Taiwanese residents with many of the same legal rights and access to social services that Mainland Chinese enjoy. Likewise, Mainland Chinese also have a similar document for traveling to Taiwan. Nuances like this change the cultural context of potential conflict with Taiwan drastically. Third, there’s the treaty situation. Lazy comparisons between the situations in Ukraine and Taiwan forget that Ukraine and the United States are not bound by any treaty, whereas such is indeed the case with Taiwan. Although the United States does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, Washington and Taipei are linked through the Taiwan Relations Act. Passed in 1979, it requires the United States “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character,” and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.” The fact that this treaty exists between the United States and Taiwan, and that no such similar arrangement exists between Ukraine and the United States, changes the situation on the ground entirely. It means that China would face a vastly different set of consequences should it decide on the armed military reunification of Taiwan. Putin does not have any treaties like this hindering him as he invades Ukraine. Fourth and finally, there is public support. Most Americans sympathize with Ukraine and are in support of sending financial aid, but are against sending American troops to defend it. Taiwan is different. Alarmist, hawkish headlines and risky policy promotion by American officials have led a slight majority of Americans to favor sending troops to Taiwan. Just like treaties, this shifts a hypothetical Chinese conflict with Taiwan into a vastly different arena than the one unfolding in Ukraine. Yes, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is against international law. Yes, it’s against everything the liberal international rules-based order stands for. But will the West send soldiers to fight and shed blood, sweat, and tears? Highly unlikely. This might not be the case in Taiwan. Regrettably, officials like U.S. Air Force commander Kenneth S. Wilsbach have also jumped the bandwagon and claimed that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine provides China with a playbook for Taiwan. But far away from Washington and armed with the facts, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine does not provide China with any meaningful “playbook.” Continuing to insist that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is something that can be compared with Taiwan is an ideological statement not at all based on empirical evidence. Putin is weathering international condemnation, fury, and heavy sanctions for his decision. But it is unlikely he will see any meaningful military pushback from the rest of Europe or its allies. Ukraine is a conflict Putin will, for better or worse, likely win. China risks much more if cross-strait relations turn hot. It would have to endure everything that’s been thrown at Putin, yet at the same time also contend with a military conflict possibly involving foreign forces deployed in Taiwan’s defense. Although China will likely win, as suggested by war games conducted by the U.S. military, this is still a different scenario with dramatic consequences—one no Chinese leader would blindly take. Although Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a regrettable turn of events and a humanitarian crisis, in regard to Taiwan, it means little. Comparisons that claim Putin’s invasion is a turning point for Taiwan are simply not based on evidence. Defense experts, foreign policy analysts, and other interested parties would do better focusing their attention and

Regardless, China will not align with Russia; China’s cannot afford to alienate the US

Ian Bremmer, 5-5, 22, IAN BREMMER is President and Founder of Eurasia Group., Foreign Affairs, The New Cold War Could Soon Heat Up, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2022-05-05/new-cold-war-could-soon-heat

Similar limits apply to trade. Although Beijing and Moscow are natural partners—China needs Russian oil, gas, metals, and minerals, and Russia badly needs Chinese cash—the infrastructure needed to shift Europe-bound exports to the east will require enormous long-term financial investments. China’s economic growth, however, is already slowing, and Beijing’s willingness to take on such spending will be conditional on extracting highly favorable terms from Moscow. In short, despite Xi’s no-limits rhetoric, Beijing’s friendship with Russia has clear political and economic boundaries. China may be a revisionist power bent on undermining U.S. hegemony, but Beijing has an overwhelming interest in preserving global stability. The legitimacy of Xi and the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic rule depends on continued economic growth—and continued growth depends on pragmatic relations with Beijing’s top trading partners in Europe, Japan, and the United States. China is therefore unlikely to risk confrontation by openly violating allied sanctions or providing direct military support to Moscow. Similar limits apply to trade. Although Beijing and Moscow are natural partners—China needs Russian oil, gas, metals, and minerals, and Russia badly needs Chinese cash—the infrastructure needed to shift Europe-bound exports to the east will require enormous long-term financial investments. China’s economic growth, however, is already slowing, and Beijing’s willingness to take on such spending will be conditional on extracting highly favorable terms from Moscow. In short, despite Xi’s no-limits rhetoric, Beijing’s friendship with Russia has clear political and economic boundaries.

China cooperating to isolate Russia now

Bud Kennedy, May 3, 2022, U.S. relieved as China appears to heed warnings on Russia, https://news.yahoo.com/u-relieved-china-appears-heed-090628181.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two months after warning that Beijing appeared poised to help Russia in its fight against Ukraine, senior U.S. officials say they have not detected overt Chinese military and economic support, a welcome development in the tense U.S.-China relationship. U.S. officials told Reuters in recent days they remain wary about China's long-standing support for Russia in general, but that the military and economic support that they worried about has not come to pass, at least for now. The relief comes at a pivotal time. President Joe Biden is preparing for a trip to Asia later this month dominated by how to deal with the rise of China and his administration is soon to release his first national security strategy about the emergence of China as a great power. "We have not seen the PRC provide direct military support to Russia’s war on Ukraine or engage in systematic efforts to help Russia evade our sanctions," a Biden administration official told Reuters, referring to the People's Republic of China. "We continue to monitor for the PRC and any other country that might provide support to Russia or otherwise evade U.S. and partner sanctions." As well as steering clear of directly backing Russia's war effort, China has avoided entering new contracts between its state oil refiners and Russia, despite steep discounts. In March its state-run Sinopec Group suspended talks about a major petrochemical investment and a gas marketing venture in Russia. Last month, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations hailed China's abstentions on U.N. votes to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "win," underscoring how Beijing's enforced balancing act between Russia and the West may be the best outcome for Washington. Still, China has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and has criticized the sweeping Western sanctions on Moscow. Originally, the “sundown sign” went up at the train station. Then, it was moved to the middle of the main street.

Sanctions enforcement means Russia cannot reconstitute its forces

The Guardian, 5-7, 12, https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/may/07/russia-ukraine-war-us-package-takes-ukraine-military-aid-to-38bn-un-statement-omits-words-war-and-invasion-live, War in Ukraine taking 'heavy toll' on Russian units, UK MoD says
The conflict in Ukraine is taking a “heavy toll” on some of Russia’s most capable units, the UK’s ministry of defence has said in its latest intelligence report. At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting, the ministry added. The T-90M was introduced in 2016 and includes improved armour, an upgraded gun and enhanced satellite navigation systems. Approximately 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service amongst Russia’s best equipped units, including those fighting in Ukraine, British intelligence claimed adding that the system’s upgraded armour, designed to counter anti-tank weaponry, remains vulnerable if unsupported by other force elements. The report continued: The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities. It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict. It will be particularly challenging to replace modernised and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components.

China won’t attack Taiwan unless th3 US offers military support for Taiwan’s independence

Xuetong, May 2, 2022, YAN XUETONG is Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China’s Ukraine Conundrum: Why the War Necessitates a Balancing Act, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2022-05-02/chinas-ukraine-conundrum

This is not the first time Beijing has found itself caught between major rival powers. Between 1958 and 1971, the People’s Republic of China faced the most hostile international environment in its brief history. During this period, it had to confront strategic threats from the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously. In response, the Chinese government devoted all its economic resources to preparing for a full-scale war against one of the two powers. To better shield its industrial base from attack, it moved many factories from more developed areas in eastern China to underdeveloped and mountainous western areas, hiding them in artificial caves. This large-scale industrial reorganization plunged China into a significant economic hardship, causing severe commodity shortages and widespread poverty.  The memory of this awful history has informed China’s response to the war in Ukraine and hardened its commitment to avoid getting sandwiched between Washington and Moscow once again. Official Chinese statements have thus been finely calibrated to avoid provoking Russia. In an interview in March, for instance, Qin made clear that Beijing seeks a cooperative relationship with Moscow but does not support its war in Ukraine. “There is no forbidden zone for cooperation between China and Russia, but there is also a bottom line, which is the tenets and principles established in the UN Charter,” he said. In a press briefing on April 1, Wang Lutong, director-general of European affairs at China’s Foreign Ministry, sought to walk a similarly fine line: “We are not doing anything deliberately to circumvent the sanctions against Russia imposed by the US and the Europeans,” he said, adding that “China is not a related party to the crisis in Ukraine.” In choosing a middle path on Ukraine, China has refrained from providing military aid to Moscow but maintained normal business relations with Russia, a decision that other countries have also made. For example, India—a strategic partner of the United States—has adopted a similar stance, drawing a clear distinction between military and economic affairs. Even some NATO countries have continued to buy Russian gas to heat homes through the winter. If the war in Ukraine drags on, more countries may start mimicking China’s balancing policy to minimize their own economic losses caused by the war.  As the world’s second-largest economic power, China intends to play an important role in shaping global economic norms. But it has no ambition to play a leading role in global security affairs, especially in matters of war, because of the huge military disparity between it and the United States. Shaping a peaceful environment favorable to China’s economic development remains an important diplomatic goal. As long as the United States does not offer military support for a Taiwanese declaration of de jure independence, China is unlikely to deviate from this path of peaceful development.

China-Taiwan war would draw-in the US, destroy the economy, and collapse access to food and medical supplies, must avoid tilting the balance against China to avoid war

Dr. Zheng Wang is the Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) and Professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, May 1, 2022, Ukraine’s Wrong Lessons for Taiwan, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/ukraine%E2%80%99s-wrong-lessons-taiwan-202113?page=0%2C1

Compared to the war in Ukraine, a war between China and Taiwan would have consequences that are much worse than is currently imagined. For one, any war between China and Taiwan would more likely involve an intervention by the United States, unlike in the Russo-Ukrainian War where it has simply supplied military equipment and resources. A direct confrontation between the PLA and American troops, two nuclear powers and the world’s two largest economies, would be both unthinkable and unpredictable.

As we have seen with the Russo-Ukrainian War, the war has had a large impact on the world economy and its markets, especially regarding oil and food. Yet a conflict between China, Taiwan, and the United States, would cause far greater disruption. China’s economy is the same size as the entire European Union, and China is also the largest trade partner with over 120 countries in the world. Furthermore, since China is a world factory, as its manufacturing output is larger than that of the United States, Japan, and Germany put together, any conflict would disrupt the trade of goods that many of its trading partners depend on to stabilize their society and feed their people. Disruptions to the supply chain from a country that serves as a factory for many of the world’s goods would be devastating. For example, China produces a big portion of pharmaceutical prescriptions and personal protective equipment (PPE) that the American people depend on. Any conflict with China would certainly disrupt this supply of needed medicine and medical supplies. Additionally, Taiwan is a leading producer of advanced chips globally; only one Taiwanese company—Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)— accounts for over 50 percent of the global chip market share. All of this makes it clear for rational people that a war between China and Taiwan should be avoided and actively prevented where possible.

Moreover, Taiwan is basically undefendable—many people would strongly disagree on this—but it is a sad reality, especially if one thinks of Taiwanese civilians and their welfare. Geography is Taiwan’s destiny. Compared with Ukraine, which is the second-largest country in Europe, Taiwan is just a little bigger than the size of Maryland and is seventeen times smaller than Ukraine. If Russia is having trouble supplying the war front in Ukraine, China will have no trouble doing so in Taiwan. Also, Taiwan would be very easy to isolate as it is an island. In the interest of the Taiwanese people, there are no readily available pathways to escape like Ukraine, as Taiwan is surrounded by water. Taiwan is also too close to Mainland China and the narrow 100-mile-wide strait makes effective missile defense for Taiwan extremely difficult.

Compared to Russia, China is the second-largest economy in the world with plenty of human and material resources that would be all focused on a collectively accepted strong vision for reunification. It would be a war that China has prepared for since 1949. For instance, the PLA has built several one-to-one reproductions of its major military targets in Taiwan, such as a major military airport and even Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building, to conduct many military exercises during the past seven decades. Numerous public opinion polls have also indicated that the Chinese have a strong consensus on national reunification with Taiwan. With decades of education and propaganda, this has become a collective belief and a part of the national identity as a group-shared objective. In terms of the determination, motivation, and public support at home during wartime, Beijing will likely upset Taipei and Washington, DC.

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