Gaining control of Taiwan is central to China’s overall national strategic strategy, and the US must ensure that Beijing fails in this aim and honor its legal commitment to supply Taiwan with needed defensive weapons, a draft of a new State Department report said.
The internal draft of the report, by the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), was first revealed in a story in the Washington Times on Wednesday. The Taipei Times obtained a copy of the draft on the Washington Times Web site.
The 17-member board is composed of outside experts who provide independent advice to the secretary of state on all aspects of arms control, disarmament, international security and related issues.
It is headed by Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense and currently chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council. Members are “national security experts with scientific, military, diplomatic and political backgrounds,” the Web site says.
It is not known whether the final report will be made public when it is completed. In recent speeches, Wolfowitz has adopted a harder line on defending Taiwan than US government officials, including those in the State Department.
“While Taiwan may be seen by others as a regional issue, China views it in a global context, central to the legitimacy of the regime and key to power projects. While the United States may view the Taiwan question as status quo versus integration with China, Beijing views it as peaceful reunion or forcible conquest,” the draft said.
“The biggest threat to US-China relations in the short term (5 to 10 years) is probably Taiwan,” the 10-page draft said. “Beijing will never give in on the issue of whether Taiwan is a province of China. Recognizing US policy to discourage both Beijing and Taiwan from taking provocative measures, the United States should make clear that it will meet all commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA] and will not accept Chinese use of force to establish territorial control in the region.”
The TRA requires the US to supply Taiwan with sufficient defensive weapons to resist a Chinese military attack.
“In addition, the United States should deploy more robust sea and space-based capabilities to contribute to deterrence in a future crisis over Taiwan. Such capabilities will contribute to the continued credibility of the US security guarantee to Japan and other friends and allies in Asia,” the draft said.
“Most important, the United States must, in actions and words, demonstrate its revolve to remain militarily strong and its consistency to defend its interests and meet its security commitments to friends and allies in the region,” it said.
While the Pentagon, in its annual reports to Congress on China’s military, has long warned that Taiwan is the primary and immediate target of China’s rapid military modernization, the State Department draft significantly expands on that, identifying Beijing’s Taiwan policy as intimately intertwined with China’s broader sense of its own future place in the world and the Asia-Pacific region.
In this, US-China relations play a key role, said the draft, entitled China’s Strategic Modernization: Report from the ISAB Task Force.
“The United States is viewed as China’s principal strategic adversary and as a potential challenge to the regime’s legitimacy, specifically with regard to Taiwan,” the draft said.
China’s first aim in seeking to become a global power is to seek a “breakout” from its “century-long containment along the Pacific littoral, the draft said.
“In China’s view, Taiwan is the key to breakout: if China is to become a global power, the first step must include control of the island. Achieving this objective would dramatically increase Beijing’s ability to command the seas off its coast and to project power eastward. It also would deny the United States a key ally in a highly strategic location,” the draft said.
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