Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

PRC threatening regional security: US academics

Staff writer, with CNA

Two US academics believe that China’s military drills and cyberattacks constitute a threat to regional security, but they do not believe that the situation is likely to escalate into war this year.

Ian Easton, an analyst at US think tank the Project 2049 Institute, said China’s increasing military activities, both in the form of drills near Taiwan and large-scale cyberattacks, are a threat to regional security.

He described the threat as one that has surpassed the limits of what the international community can accept.

Michael Chase of the Rand Corporation, another US think tank, described what China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is doing as “deterrent diplomacy,” in which it is spreading threats through its fighter jets and on social media in both Chinese and English.

As part of China’s campaign of intimidation, the PLA deployed military aircraft 23 times and aircraft carriers twice on training missions not far from Taiwan between August 2016 and last month, according to Ministry of National Defense statistics.

Yet, while tensions across the Taiwan Strait are on the rise, neither Easton nor Chase believe that war is inevitable or imminent.

Easton recommended that as the US has reiterated its commitment to supporting Taiwan’s defense capabilities, it should provide Taipei with fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets, including new F-16s and F-35s.

The US should also be cooperating with Taiwan in the areas of land and naval warfare, missile defense and cybersecurity, he said.

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