The New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Thursday listed a possible conflict between the US and China over Taiwan as a top-tier concern for the first time in its annual Preventive Priorities Survey.
The report assessed the likelihood and effects of 30 potential conflicts that could break out over the next year based on responses from 550 US government officials, foreign policy experts and academics.
Those conflicts are classified into one of three tiers, and the possibility of “intensifying political and economic pressure from China against Taiwan, leading to a severe crisis with the United States,” was classified as a “Tier 1” risk for the first time.
A US-China conflict over Taiwan was listed as a “Tier 2” risk in 2019 and last year, but was moved up based on its potentially “high impact” on US interests and the moderate likelihood of it occurring, the report said.
A high impact on US interests refers to a contingency that directly threatens the US, a defense treaty ally or a vital strategic interest, and is thus likely to trigger a major US military response, based on the council’s definitions.
A “moderate” likelihood means that there is some chance of an event happening.
By contrast, the possibility of “an armed confrontation in the South China Sea involving China and the United States over freedom of navigation and disputed territorial claims” was downgraded from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 risk, as it was judged to have a low likelihood of occurring in the coming year.
In addition to a crisis over Taiwan, the council also ranked as Tier 1 contingencies the heightening of military tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program, and an armed confrontation between Iran and the US or one of its allies over Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy groups.
Other Tier 1 risks included political instability in Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela, Russian interference or intimidation against a NATO member, and the possibility of a major cyberattack or terrorist attack on the US.
Paul Stares, director of the council’s Center for Preventive Action, said in the report that the survey is intended to calculate the likelihood of specific contingencies based on the presence of known risk factors.
This ensures that “precautionary measures can be directed toward those [risks] that appear most threatening to lessen the chance that they materialize and reduce the harmful impact if they do,” he said.
The survey only included contingencies in which the US military could plausibly be employed, and therefore excluded other global risks, such as climate change, economic or health-related events, and natural disasters.
It also excluded the risk of domestic unrest or conflict within the US.
‘UNFRIENDLY’: COA Minister Chen Chi-chung said that Beijing probably imposed the sanction because the pineapple production season is about to start in Taiwan More than 99 percent of pineapples sold to China passed inspections, the government said yesterday, after China earlier in the day abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from the nation, which Taipei called an “unfriendly” move. From Monday, China is to stop importing pineapples from Taiwan, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said. The regulation is a normal measure for ensuring biosafety, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a news release later yesterday. Since last year, Chinese customs officials have repeatedly seized pineapples imported from Taiwan that carried “perilous organisms,” Ma said. Were the organisms to spread in China, they would
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
Taiwanese netizens and politicians yesterday mocked a Chinese plan to build a transportation network linking Beijing and Taipei, calling it “science fiction” and “daydreaming.” Their comments were in reaction to the Chinese State Council’s release last week of its “Guidelines on the National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan,” which include several proposed transportation links, with one map showing a line running from China’s Jingjinji Metropolitan Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei. “This is the Chinese leadership daydreaming again of [fulfilling its] fantasy of extending China’s transportation network to Taiwan. I suggest people regard it as science fiction,” Democratic Progressive
‘ONE PERSON PER UNIT’: People undergoing home isolation cannot stay in a housing unit in which non-isolated people live, unless they have special approval Starting tomorrow, people under home isolation would be required to follow the “one person per housing unit” rule if in private housing, or stay at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the rules require people under home quarantine to be quarantined with one person per housing unit, or at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility. “Starting on March 1, individuals under home isolation will also be subject to the ‘one person per housing unit’ rule,” he said. “We