Is it six days or two weeks? This is the range of speculation over how long Taiwan will be able to hold out should China decide to launch a full-scale attack. A recent computer simulation suggested six days. No sooner had this been reported than "authoritative military sources" -- whatever those are -- rushed to tell some local media outlets that, in fact, Taiwan could hold out for a whole two weeks. \nThat anyone should find the possibility of a war lasting twice as long reassuring is symptomatic of the air of unreality which tends to surround this gravest of topics. The logic behind this view is essentially that Taiwan has to hold out until the US comes to its aid and, given the tortoise-like speed of US military deployment, the longer the better. \nThis is assuming that the US will come to Taiwan's aid, and there are people in the US who ask, "Why should we?" Because the US has a strategic interest in denying China control of the Western Pacific and the sea lanes to Japan, the conquest of Taiwan would effectively mean the end of the US' "hyperpower" status. \nSome people in Taiwan think this means that Taiwan can hitch a free ride on the back of US strategic interests. One of the more foolish, and distressingly widespread, follies we have heard from the pan-green camp is that Taiwan does not need to spend money on upgrading its military effectiveness because the US is compelled to defend it, come what may. This is utter rubbish. But is it any more idiotic than the nature of the debate about the kind of weapons Taiwan needs? \nThe major threat from China comes from its missiles -- 500 of them at the moment and at least 600 by the end of next year. Taiwan is obviously interested in defense against missiles, but in a curiously myopic way. It is obsessed with high-tech solutions of extremely doubtful value while eschewing more basic, albeit less showy, measures. For example, a cornerstone of Taiwan's defense strategy is acquiring the Patriot III anti-missile system, despite this system's highly questionable effectiveness. Instead of putting its faith in a magic umbrella full of holes, Taiwan might more usefully upgrade its facilities to make sure they can withstand being struck by China's missiles. Pouring concrete lacks the glamor of high-tech gadgetry, but might be more effective in the long run -- and certainly cheaper. \nBut the myopia extends beyond this. The chief problem is the "reactive" interpretation of what constitutes defense. Taiwan wants to stop China if it indeed tries anything, which means finding weapons to counter the weapons that China has. What Taiwan needs is the ability to stop Beijing from trying anything in the first place. That does not just mean the ability to inflict big losses on an attacking force, but the ability to raise the cost of attacking Taiwan far beyond China's willingness to pay. In the end this comes down to Taiwan's need for nuclear weapons. The ability to obliterate China's 10 largest cities and the Three Gorges Dam would be a powerful deterrent to China's adventurism. Some might find this horrible to contemplate, but if China leaves Taiwan in peace it is something that would never have to be faced. It would be up to China. \nIt is current US policy to prevent nuclear proliferation, or so Washington says. The irony is that in preventing Taiwan many years ago from working on its own nuclear deterrent, the US may one day risk a nuclear exchange with China because of Taiwan. To avoid this, it might be useful to think about how Taiwan might acquire the means to stop China even thinking about an attack.
On Aug. 27, the Executive Yuan announced that it would make cannabis the main target in the government’s fight against drugs and adopt three major strategies to tackle it. The authorities are to be commended for their determination to deal with the problem. Cannabis users are by no means few in number. Many of them have high social status or returned to Taiwan after studying overseas, and most of them started smoking cannabis while at university. Many think that cannabis is no more harmful to health than tobacco, so they think it should be tolerated as it has been in the Netherlands,
For China observers, especially those in Taiwan, the past decade has brought awareness of an increasing obsession by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with control. It seeks to control not simply national policy, but all aspects of its citizens’ lives. Not a week passes without some new aspect of Chinese life being brought under CCP control. This forces obvious questions: Why this obsession? And what is driving it? When any one-party state, which already controls government, yet seeks to expand and tighten that control, it bodes ill. With a country the size of China, it bodes ill for Taiwan, Asia and the
Taiwan is now entering a period of maximum danger from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) due to an accelerating Chinese military challenge now emboldened by a shocking dive in American strategic credibility occasioned by its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan. This means there is a much higher chance that in the next one to three years CCP leader Xi Jinping (習近平) may order the PLA to invade Taiwan because he believes the PLA can win and that the Americans can be dissuaded from coming to Taiwan’s aid in time. It is still possible for Taiwan and Washington
Another year, and another UN General Assembly is convening without Taiwan. Today marks the opening of the assembly’s 76th session at the UN headquarters in New York City, with the option to attend remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which once again promises to be its main focus under the theme “Building resilience through hope.” As they do every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas compatriot groups are organizing campaigns to call for Taiwan’s participation in the global body. However, unlike previous years, Taiwan seems to be riding a higher wave of support than usual. The pandemic has exposed countless shortcomings