Thu, Feb 14, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US-based China academics urge US not to neglect Taiwan

By William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter

An F-16 upgraded to F-16V capabilities lands at an air force base in Chiayi County on Oct. 19 last year.

Photo courtesy of Chiang Kuan-lun

A report published on Tuesday by US-based China academics advises US President Donald Trump’s administration to assist Taiwan’s capability in asymmetrical warfare while taking a balanced approach to China that pressures Beijing on harmful conduct while remaining open to dialogue and cooperation.

The report, titled Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy, was jointly written by Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations and the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego.

China has shown a desire to pressure Taiwan’s government toward unification, and deter or delay US intervention in a conflict over Taiwan, which could lead to an US-China armed conflict given the US’ commitment to peaceful development of the cross-strait relations, the report says.

“The United States must stand ready to deter unprovoked military aggression by Beijing against Taiwan,” it says, adding that the US “should assist Taiwan in developing asymmetric capabilities to hold off the massively superior People’s Liberation Army [PLA] forces until the United States can bring forces to bear.”

The presence of robust shore batteries, improved air defenses, mobile response units and sea mines to counter landing craft can all pose major problems to the PLA, it adds.

China’s ramping up of its military drills near Taiwan’s borders has caused cross-strait relations to grow tenser day by day, and the US must respond to this and other unilateral actions taken by China, including its militarization of the South China Sea, the report says.

The peaceful resolution of Taiwan’s relationship to China must involve democratic decisionmaking by Taiwanese, failing which the US must have a military strategy in place to come to Taiwan’s aid in holding back China, the report says.

As China would likely attempt a blockade of Taiwan during an armed conflict, the US should also “encourage Taiwan to develop deeper strategic reserves of key materials and to create better logistic linkages between smaller ports and population centers,” it says.

The US must not neglect its version of the “one China” policy, but it must also prevent attempts at forcible “reunification,” which would destabilize the Taiwan Strait, the report says.

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