It was reported recently that the Japanese government, at the urging of the US military, may revise an existing law governing the use of some of Japan's airfields and seaports by US forces during a crisis near Japan, to expand it to cover more public facilities.
The revision would also clarify that emergency in the Taiwan Strait or the Korean Peninsula would qualify as such a crisis. In addition, the US military has reportedly inferred that it can use all commercial airfields in Kyushu in case of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait.
This and other indications all illustrate that the US-Japan alliance is forging ahead with preparations to guard against conflicts in the region.
In sharp contrast, Taiwan's pan-blue camp in the Legislative Yuan continues to block the arms procurement bill, despite the government's repeated efforts to address their concerns.
While the pan-blue camp may seem consistent in its propensity for pacifism, its treatment of the arms bill also has the earmark of a grand scheme to mislead the Taiwanese people and beguile the rest of the world.
There is near consensus that given the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) avowed goal of formal independence for Taiwan, the potential for conflict will peak during its watch.
That argument is but a red herring cultivated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) alliance to divert attention away from the real threat to the area's stability: namely, Beijing's territorial claims on Taiwan.
In reality, the US' steadfast counsel of restraint to the DPP government would make any rash move to cross the line all but impossible under normal conditions.
It is a KMT administration that leans toward Beijing rather than Washington in its security considerations that would most likely put Taiwan in a precarious position. Instead of exercising prudence, Beijing's leaders would have no compunction in pushing Taiwan deep into "unification" without due consideration for stability in the region.
Parallel to this, some other mechanisms are also in play.
The cross-strait alliance between the CCP and the KMT has often been credited with easing tensions between Taiwan and China. What might have been overlooked is a simultaneously growing undertow of domestic tensions within Taiwan that can only bode ill for the Taiwanese people.
This could be better elaborated with the analogy of the interaction between two tectonic plates, with China on one side and the US-Japan alliance on the other. After pressure is released at one spot following a series of minor seismic activities, while the underlying energies that are forcing the plates remain intact, pressure accumulates in another spot and could trigger an earth-shattering event.
The potential for conflict has not been curbed. Only the location for potential flare-ups has shifted.
What matters most to the Taiwanese people should be the distinction between a peace predicated on a strong defense -- keeping the stress point external to Taiwan -- and a probable catastrophe if that stress is fully transferred or even multiplies, becoming internal to Taiwan itself.
In short, should the KMT take power in 2008, Beijing would, in light of its "Anti-Secession Law," attempt to draw Taiwan into its sphere of control, thereby possibly touching off internal strife in Taiwan that would have implications for regional stability, at the very least.
Conversely, if the DDP stays in power, the US will maintain its sway over Taiwan and ensure that it does not cross the line. That, together with the US-Japan-Taiwan coalition's determination to wield sufficient military capability -- including adequate deterrence for Taiwan, will continue to keep peace viable in the region.
But this conclusion about the effects of the pan-blue camp's shenanigans on regional peace and stability appears to go against conventional wisdom.
However, if the majority of the Taiwanese people arrive at the same conclusion in the next two years and discard the illusion that the pan-blue camp is more capable of maintaining peace in the region, the KMT's ability to keep making mischief should greatly diminish.
Until then, the US will have to weigh the probability that the course of action charted by the KMT-CCP alliance could inexorably draw all the powers in the region into a momentous collision.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) spoke during the opening ceremony of this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA). For the first time in the assembly’s history, attendees, including Xi, had to dial in virtually. Xi made no acknowledgement of the Chinese government’s role in causing the COVID-19 pandemic, nor was there any meaningful apology. Instead, he painted China as a benign force for good and a friend to all nations. Except Taiwan, of course. The address was a reheated version of the speech Xi gave at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Xi again attempted to step into the
The World Health Assembly (WHA) held its annual meeting this week; Taiwan was still not represented. Its journalists were also barred from covering the online-only proceedings, despite the nation’s clearly demonstrated pandemic expertise that has set an example for the world. When the SARS epidemic reached Taiwan from southern China in 2003, dozens of lives were lost, but its health experts learned the importance of general testing, masks, technology to locate infected persons, swift decisions and quarantines. The lessons were applied immediately across Taiwan when COVID-19 arrived this year. From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated as an observer in the assembly under