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Taiwan Arms Sales Daily Update

Taiwan Arms Sales Daily Update

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F-16s can coordinate with the US F-35s, increasing deterrence vis-à-vis China

Stephen Byren, 8-19, 19, Asia Times, https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/taiwans-new-f-16s-boost-regional-role-of-us/,

The Trump administration has sent to Congress an advisory notice that it intends to supply Taiwan with 66 new F-16V fighter jets. These jets, the first new American planes to Taiwan since the 1992 sale of F-16 A/B aircraft (Block 20) by the George HW Bush administration, represent part of a strategic shift significant for the region. The shift started with the earlier decision to upgrade Taiwan’s 144 older F-16s to the F-16V standard, a project called Phoenix Rising now underway and expected to be completed by 2023. While the older F-16s won’t have the higher thrust engines and other aerodynamic improvements of the new F-16V aircraft, both will share the same electronics, especially AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar that is compatible with the F-35s operated by the US Air Force, Navy and Marines. And, while not finally decided, Taiwan will be training on the new F-16V aircraft in the United States, on the west coast, and learning how to coordinate their F-16Vs with American F-35s. The F-35 is a stealth aircraft and Taiwan had asked the US for the F-35B short takeoff-vertical landing (STOVL) variant. While the F-35B does not have the range of the F-16, it would solve a problem that concerns Taiwan’s Air Force planners: what to do if Taiwan’s airfields are successfully attacked by China, putting them out of commission. Stealth system The F-35B was eyed because it could take off and land on very short runways, meaning China would be faced with a challenge in trying to liquidate Taiwan’s short airfields scattered around the island. Taiwan’s request did not gain much traction in the United States, in part because Taiwan has long been a target of Chinese infiltration that could expose the F-35 stealth system to compromise. Maintaining stealth coatings remains a US secret, and the F-35s and F-22s must have their stealth coatings serviced in secure locations. In the US there was opposition to transferring stealth know-how to Taiwan. But the F-35 also could have created a number of problems for Taiwan. Supporting an F-35 program requires a lot of highly trained manpower. Taiwan is especially short on aerospace-qualified manpower. In April this year, because of delays keeping the F-16V upgrade program on schedule, the chairman of AIDC, Anson Liao, was forced to resign. Liao said he lacked enough manpower to get the job done. The AIDC is Taiwan’s biggest aerospace company, with revenues of almost US$1 billion and more than 3,000 employees, and is directly responsible for its military programs. The AIDC formed a partnership with Lockheed to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16s. A second issue is availability. The US F-35 program is not yet a mature platform, and readiness and availability rates have been poor, running at about 50%. That compares with Taiwan’s F-16 availability rate that, before the upgrade program, was about 70%. Taiwan needs to maintain at least a 70% availability rate, if not more. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis had set the target for the Pentagon at 80%. The third problem is sustainment. Taking in the F-35 would have created a logistics headache for Taiwan, which is already supporting four different fighter platforms: the F-16 A/B and now upgraded F-16V, the F-CK-1 indigenous fighter, the Mirage 2000-5, which is very expensive to maintain, and the Northrop F-5E, and RF-5E. Supporting role While Taiwan apparently wants to phase out the Mirage and F-5E aircraft, the timetable for that is not set. The US has also been trying to restart spare parts production to help Taiwan keep its very old F-5s flying. Taiwan is also supporting existing training aircraft and the AIDC is building a new lead-in trainer that will also need to be supported. Beyond the operational issues facing Taiwan’s Air Force and its industrial base, F-35s carry a limited amount of weapons and are mainly important for their ability to penetrate enemy air defenses. In most US war fighting scenarios, F-35s and F-22s would be sent in against high value enemy targets, like air fields, missile defenses and front line enemy aircraft. There is less value to Taiwan in the US scenario, since penetrating China’s airspace and flattening China’s air defenses and missile launching sites is not a viable option for Taiwan. The main purpose of Taiwan’s Air Force and other defense assets is to support Taiwan’s national security and independence. This means emphasizing the air defense and air superiority roles and the ability to support efforts to stop an invading force. Change in defense environment But the lack of the F-35 for Taiwan does not remove the F-35 from the game. In fact, the new F-16’s ability to work with US-run F-35s is an important advantage for Taiwan and changes the defense environment profoundly. Instead of Taiwan relying on a far off, late arriving US aircraft carrier to bail out a Taiwan under siege, US warplanes and Taiwan’s upgraded fleet could coordinate their operations in a crisis. The US has stealth aircraft in Japan and Okinawa. And interoperability between the F-35s and F-16Vs is straightforward because each has the same electronics and same weapons. The technological heart is the change in the F-16s electronics. The AESA radar has much greater range and flexibility than the mechanically-scanned radars it replaces. Advanced AESA systems have four key attributes: they are resistant to enemy jamming; they make it very difficult for enemy radar warning receivers to locate them; these radars are more reliable than mechanically scanned systems because they are all solid state; and they feature real multi-mode functionality, meaning they can locate air, sea and land targets simultaneously. When combined with fiber optic data bases and with electronic warfare systems, the F-16V radar can handle up to 20 targets simultaneously and at much greater range and higher resolution than older radars. It can also perform as a synthetic aperture radar (SAR). SAR capability is an all-weather, day and night sensor that produces high quality reconnaissance imagery in adverse weather and under restricted visibility conditions. Radar and weapons But perhaps the most interesting is that the F-16V AESA radar supports network enabled weapons (NEW). Emerging NEW weapons gives one aircraft the ability to fix a target and assign another aircraft, or other system, with the responsibility to kill the target. NEW creates a perfect storm for the enemy. Taiwan’s F-16Vs and US aircraft (F-35s, F-16s, F-15s and F-18s) share the same air to air and air to ground missiles. In a scenario where the US needs to assist Taiwan, the compatibility of American F-35s with Taiwan’s F-16Vs means the two sides can coordinate operations effectively, where each system operates as a force multiplier for the other. For China, this means it has much more to contend with than the arrival of a US aircraft carrier in support of Taiwan. Taiwan’s F-16V is a big step toward an integrated approach to regional defense with the United States, against an expanding and aggressive China.

Taiwan-US ties strong now

Sam Sachdeva, Newsroom’s political editor, covering foreign affairs, trade, defence, and security issues, August 19, 2019, https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/19/758650/the-coming-crisis-in-taiwan, The coming crisis in Taiwan

Bolstered by support from the US Congress and influential figures such as US national security adviser John Bolton, Taylor said the US and Taiwan were as close as they had been since the 1970s, with an increase in arms sales and the passing of the Taiwan Travel Act allowing high-level visits between the two countries’ officials.

Conflict with Taiwan will gut China’s economy and directly cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars

Sam Sachdeva, Newsroom’s political editor, covering foreign affairs, trade, defence, and security issues, August 19, 2019, https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/19/758650/the-coming-crisis-in-taiwan, The coming crisis in Taiwan

But no matter its cause, Taylor said the costs of any military conflict between China and Taiwan would be painful for all those involved. A 2016 study had estimated there would be a 25 to 35 percent drop in China’s GDP, with significant ramifications for many in the Asia-Pacific, while the US, China, and Taiwan would all suffer heavy military losses. Chinese cyber attacks could also lead to the US losing tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, he said.

Hong Kong won’t escalate to involve a foreign power

Sam Sachdeva, Newsroom’s political editor, covering foreign affairs, trade, defence, and security issues, August 19, 2019, https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/19/758650/the-coming-crisis-in-taiwan, The coming crisis in Taiwan

“If we do see a situation where China really clamps down in Hong Kong, potentially uses the military…the international response for that would probably be condemnation, denouncement, maybe some sanctions, but we wouldn’t see another country sending its military in…

Bipartisan support for arms sales to Taiwan

Bill Dorman, 8-19, 19, https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/post/asia-minute-new-arms-deal-taiwan#stream/0, Asia Minute: New Arms Deal for Taiwan?

Last month, the U.S. government finalized a $2.2 billion deal for 108 Abrams tanks and support equipment – along with 250 Stinger missiles. Previous military aid to Taiwan under the Trump Administration has been more modest—about half a billion dollars in 2017, 330 million last year, and about $1.4 billion this past April. The arms deals need to go through congressional review, but that’s not expected to be a problem on this round, because this has already received bi-partisan support….

US will sell F-16s to Taiwan, China opposes, but it can still be stopped

Ryan Brown & Kevin Liptak, 8-16, 19, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/16/politics/arms-sale-taiwan/index.html, Trump admin gives green light for major arms sale to Taiwan

The Trump administration has informally greenlit a potential major arms sale to Taiwan involving dozens of new F-16 fighter jets, according to administration officials and others familiar with the matter. The decision comes amid heightened tensions with China as a trade war wages on and a crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong draws US criticism. The new weaponry — the largest US sale to Taiwan in several years — could further erode ties, since Beijing views the self-governing island as part of China. Congress was notified informally of the potential sale on Thursday, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the matter. It’s expected to be reviewed and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Warning from China The State Department stressed that no formal notification to Congress had taken place, something that must still occur before a sale is formally announced. “We are aware of media reports regarding a possible sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan. The Department does not comment on proposed defense sales until they are formally notified to Congress,” a State Department official told CNN. On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said the United States’ arms sales to Taiwan undermine China’s sovereignty and core interests. China “firmly opposes this,” Hua said, demanding that the US refrain from selling F-16V fighter jets and stop military contact with Taiwan. “It must be stressed that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security interests,” Hua said and added a warning. The “US will have to bear all the consequences” if it does not stop all arms sales, she said. State Department approves renewal of $500 million Taiwan military training program State Department approves renewal of $500 million Taiwan military training program China is viewed as being much more hostile to this deal than any other US arms sale to Taiwan. The Obama administration avoided completing this particular sale of 66 F-16 jets, opting to upgrade existing Taiwanese jets instead. Now, President Donald Trump is in the position of signing off on a move that will undoubtedly roil Beijing while he is engaged in trade negotiations with China — and working to formulate a response to the crisis in Hong Kong. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the current situation with China, officials cautioned the deal could still be pulled back. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio praised the administration for the sale and urged fellow lawmakers on the foreign relations committees to approve the “important” sale. “As the Chinese government and Communist Party seeks to extend its authoritarian reach in the region, it is critical that the United States continue to enhance our strategic relationship with our democratic partner Taiwan through regular and consistent support,” Rubio said. “This move is an important step in support of Taiwan’s self-defense efforts, and I urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee to quickly advance this critical arms sale.”

Bipartisan support for arms sales to Taiwan, US sending a strong signal of commitment now

Ryan Brown & Kevin Liptak, 8-16, 19, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/16/politics/arms-sale-taiwan/index.html, Trump admin gives green light for major arms sale to Taiwan

Bipartisan backing The Democratic chairman and the leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a joint statement to express their support, saying that “the sale of F-16s to Taiwan sends a strong message about the US commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.” As China “steps up its military aggression in the region, we need to do all we can to support our friends around the world,” Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York and Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said, adding that they “have every confidence that it will be supported on a bipartisan and bicameral basis.”

Arms sales don’t reduce Taiwan’s modernization. Despite increasing sales, Taiwan is increasing defense spending

Associated Press, 8-15, 19, https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/08/15/us-says-taiwan-defense-spending-to-rise-with-china-threat/, Military Times, US: Taiwan defense spending to rise with China threat

Amerca’s top representative in Taiwan said Thursday that Washington expects the island to continue increasing its defense spending as Chinese security threats to the U.S. ally continue to grow. W. Brent Christensen said the U.S. had “not only observed Taiwan’s enthusiasm to pursue necessary platforms to ensure its self-defense, but also its evolving tenacity to develop its own indigenous defense industry.” That was a nod to President Tsai Ing-wen’s drive to develop domestic training jets, submarines and other weapons technology, supplementing arms bought from the U.S. “These investments by Taiwan are commendable, as is Taiwan’s ongoing commitment to increase the defense budget annually to ensure that Taiwan’s spending is sufficient to provide for its own self-defense needs,” Christensen said in a speech. “And we anticipate that these figures will continue to grow commensurate with the threats Taiwan faces.”.. Since 2008, U.S. administrations have notified Congress of more than $24 billion in foreign military sales to Taiwan, including in the past two months the sale of 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger missiles, valued at $2.2 billion dollars, Christensen said. The Trump administration alone has notified Congress of $4.4 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, he said.

Taiwan is modernizing its air force despite US sales

David Axe, 8-13, 19, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/taiwan-getting-ready-build-new-fighter-jet-73386, Is Taiwan Getting Ready to Build a New Fighter Jet?

A scale model has appeared in public depicting Taiwan’s newest warplane. Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, or AIDC, built a model of the Blue Magpie for the 2019 Taipei Aerospace & Defence Technology Exhibition, photos reveal. The $2.2-billion Blue Magpie program, which aims to build 66 high-performance training planes for the Taiwanese air force, could help to sustain the island country’s aerospace industry as it struggles to maintain a large and aging fleet of fighters.

China is a military threat to Taiwan

Associated Press, 8-15, 19, https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/08/15/us-says-taiwan-defense-spending-to-rise-with-china-threat/, Military Times, US: Taiwan defense spending to rise with China threat

China’s spending on the People’s Liberation Army rose to 1.2 trillion yuan ($178 billion) this year, making it the second-largest defense budget behind the United States. Beijing has cut contacts with Tsai’s government over Tsai’s refusal to endorse its claim that Taiwan is a part of China and sought to increase its international isolation by reducing its number of diplomatic allies to just 17. It has also stepped up efforts at military intimidation, holding military exercises across the Taiwan Strait and circling the island with bombers and fighters in what are officially termed training missions.

China doesn’t have the military capability to invade Taiwan

David Axe, 8-13, 19, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/taiwan-getting-ready-build-new-fighter-jet-73386, Is Taiwan Getting Ready to Build a New Fighter Jet?

Chinese forces are at least as sophisticated and easily outnumber Taiwan’s own forces. But that doesn’t mean China easily could conquer Taiwan. “An attempt to invade Taiwan would likely strain China’s armed forces and invite international intervention,” according to the 2019 edition of the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on Chinese military developments. “China has an array of options for a Taiwan campaign, ranging from an air and maritime blockade to a full-scale amphibious invasion to seize and occupy some or all of Taiwan or its offshore islands,” the report continued. Report Advertisement Invading Taiwan would require large numbers of ships to cross the heavily-defended Taiwan Strait. As of 2019, China doesn’t have them. “There is no indication China is significantly expanding its landing ship force necessary for an amphibious assault on Taiwan,” the Pentagon noted. Even building more ships wouldn’t ensure victory for China. “Large-scale amphibious invasion is one of the most complicated and difficult military operations,” the American report warned. “Success depends upon air and maritime superiority, the rapid buildup and sustainment of supplies onshore and uninterrupted support.” Report Advertisement “These stresses, combined with China’s combat force attrition and the complexity of urban warfare and counterinsurgency, even assuming a successful landing and breakout, make an amphibious invasion of Taiwan a significant political and military risk.”

New sale will undermine trade negotiations and make managing the Hong Kong situation more dangerous

Nakashama & Garaen, 8-16, 19, Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence issues. She has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She joined The Post in 1995. Follow, Trump administration plans $8 billion fighter jet sale to Taiwan, angering China, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-administration-plans-8-billion-fighter-jet-sale-to-taiwan-angering-china/2019/08/16/c0fc85a2-bfc4-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

The Trump administration is pressing ahead with an $8 billion sale of new F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a move likely to raise strong objections from China amid the deepening trade dispute between Washington and Beijing. Some experts said that advancing the arms sale now, amid stalled trade talks and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, will exacerbate the already fraught U.S.-China relationship. They also fear the sales could result in China imposing sanctions on U.S. defense companies that sell arms to Taiwan and also do business in China. “Taiwan’s defense is intrinsically important to the United States, but the timing of this move, amid the trade war and major instability in Hong Kong, is exceptionally precarious,” said Evan Medeiros, former White House senior director for Asia in the Obama administration and a professor at Georgetown University. “It will make trade negotiations and managing the Hong Kong situation even harder than it already is.” He added that it would fuel conspiracy theories that the United States is behind the unrest in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous part of China. Observers fear that China could launch a military crackdown there. Such a crackdown could embolden Beijing also to confront Taiwan.

F-16 sales not a major threat to the US-China relationship and won’t undermine trade agreements

Nakashama & Garaen, 8-16, 19, Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence issues. She has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She joined The Post in 1995. Follow, Trump administration plans $8 billion fighter jet sale to Taiwan, angering China, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-administration-plans-8-billion-fighter-jet-sale-to-taiwan-angering-china/2019/08/16/c0fc85a2-bfc4-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, downplayed the risk of a Chinese overreaction to the advancing arms deal. “China never likes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Will they object? Yes. Is this going to trigger a crisis in the relationship? No. This in and of itself is not going to derail progress on a trade agreement.” She said the new aircraft would be comparable in capability to F-16 jet upgrades approved by the Obama administration. “This is not a new capability,” she said.

Sales increase Taiwan defense spending

Nakashama & Garaen, 8-16, 19, Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence issues. She has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She joined The Post in 1995. Follow, Trump administration plans $8 billion fighter jet sale to Taiwan, angering China, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-administration-plans-8-billion-fighter-jet-sale-to-taiwan-angering-china/2019/08/16/c0fc85a2-bfc4-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

Eric Sayers, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who before his death last year led the powerful armed services committee, credited the administration with “returning to a normalized process where arms sales to Taiwan are considered individually instead of packaged into large bundles and delayed for years.” However, he said, the enormous price tag will put the onus on Taiwan to grow its $12 billion defense budget to sustain key spending on training and personnel

Taiwan will combine US sales with their own defense intiatives

Joe Gould & Mike Yeo, 8-16, 19, https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/08/16/trump-oks-f-16-sale-to-taiwan-amid-china-tensions/, Trump OK’s F-16 sale to Taiwan amid China tensions

WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration has informally green lit a potential major arms sale to Taiwan involving dozens of new Lockheed Martin F-16V fighter jets, according to administration and Capitol Hill sources. The move is part of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s larger drive to combine arms bought from the U.S with domestically developed training jets, submarines and other weapons technology.

Taiwan planning increased defense spending

Adelin Lin, 8-16, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-16/taiwan-plans-record-defense-spending-as-china-threat-increases, Taiwan Plans Record Defense Spending as China Threat Increases

Taiwan plans to spend a record amount on national defense next year as President Tsai Ing-wen looks to bolster the island’s defenses in the face of threats from an increasingly assertive China. Taiwan’s government proposed increasing the total national defense budget by 5.2% in 2020 to NT$358 billion ($11.4 billion) to fund a recruitment drive and hardware purchases, the statistics bureau said Thursday. Tsai has boosted military spending since 2018, after under-investment by her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou.

Key members of Congress support the sale

Joe Gould & Mike Yeo, 8-16, 19, https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/08/16/trump-oks-f-16-sale-to-taiwan-amid-china-tensions/, Trump OK’s F-16 sale to Taiwan amid China tensions

Key Members of Congress on Friday said the sale will likely be supported on a bipartisan basis in both chambers and invoked the strong bonds between the U.S. and Taiwan. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul, of Texas, said in a joint statement that the sale “sends a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific” amid China’s “military aggression in the region.” “Following our meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen in New York last month, we know this sale will underscore our deep and enduring partnership with Taiwan,” they said. “Further, it will help deter China as they threaten our strategic partner Taiwan and its democratic system of government.” The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s chairman, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, cheered Trump and welcomed the sale as “critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China.” “Taiwan is a steadfast partner of the United States in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, and the United States remains firmly committed to supporting its defense,” Risch said.

Rebecca Kheel, 8-16, 19, https://thehill.com/policy/defense/457724-trump-moves-forward-with-f-16-sale-to-taiwan, Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China

Leading lawmakers are commending the Trump administration for moving forward with a proposed sale of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan after the administration informally notified Congress of the sale, to which China is staunchly opposed. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said the F-16s are “critical” for Taiwan’s defense. “These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China,” Risch said in a statement Friday. “I commend the Trump administration for making this decision to bolster Taiwan’s defensive capabilities, and note the strong bipartisan and bicameral support for this sale.” In the House, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a joint statement that the sale will send a “strong message.” “The sale of F-16s to Taiwan sends a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific,” they said. “As leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we are pleased the administration is moving forward with this sale and have every confidence that it will be supported on a bipartisan and bicameral basis.”

Taiwan-US ties increasing

John Dotson is the editor of China Brief, July 31, 2019, https://jamestown.org/program/arms-sales-and-high-level-visits-signal-closer-u-s-relations-with-taiwan/, Arms Sales and High-Level Visits Signal Closer U.S. Relations with Taiwan

The first half of 2019 has seen a steady procession of developments marking a closer alignment between the United States and Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China, or ROC). In May, a meeting was held between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and his ROC counterpart David Lee (李大維) in the course of the latter’s visit to the United States (Taiwan News, May 25). In early June, the Pentagon’s newly-released Indo-Pacific Strategy Report included Taiwan in a list of “countries” friendly to the United States, and referred to Taiwan as one of the “reliable, capable, and natural partners of the United States” in Asia, which is “actively taking steps to uphold a free and open international order.” [1] Events in July were capped off by a new round of U.S. military sales to Taiwan, and two brief visits to U.S. territory by ROC President Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) (see details below). Taken together, these developments have signaled a clear reorientation of U.S. policy towards a closer relationship with Taiwan—one which has been eagerly reciprocated by President Tsai, who has proclaimed her administration’s “determination to promote Taiwan on the international stage” (Twitter, July 21). Conversely, the reaction has been harsh from state sources in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Xinhua, May 27), thereby threatening to introduce further tensions into a Sino-U.S. relationship that is already severely strained. A New Round of Arms Sales to Taiwan Throughout both the Bush (43) and Obama Administrations, arms sales to Taiwan were frequently delayed or aborted due either to U.S. concerns about damaging relations with the PRC, or to domestic political wrangling in Taiwan—and as a result, arms sales were often conducted on an irregular and ad hoc basis (CRS, August 29, 2014). Officials in the Trump Administration, by contrast, have indicated intent to normalize arms sales and other forms of security cooperation with Taiwan (VOA, July 19). In June, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Shriver stated that Taiwan could contribute to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy through further investments in its own defense, and that the administration envisioned a “more normal process” for arms sales to Taiwan, which would “treat Taiwan as a normal security assistance partner.” [2] Since April, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of intent to proceed with the sale to Taiwan of three major packages of military equipment and training services: The continuation of a pilot training program at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and maintenance and logistics support for existing F-16 fighter aircraft in Taiwan’s inventory (estimated cost of $500 million) (DSCA, April 15); A large package of military vehicles, munitions, and support equipment, headlined by one hundred eight M1A2T Abrams battle tanks (estimated cost of $2 billion) (DSCA, July 8); Two hundred fifty Block I-92F Stinger missiles and four Block I-92F Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles, with associated support equipment (estimated cost of $223.56 million) (DSCA, July 8). Additionally, there has been press speculation that an additional approval is forthcoming for sales of sixty-six new F-16V variant airframes (Taiwan News, July 23); however, as of the date of this article, no such notification has been issued. The announcements of the arms sales drew predictable demands from the PRC to cancel the sales, as well as harsh condemnation and unspecified threats to levy sanctions on any companies involved with the sales (Xinhua, July 12; CNBC, July 15). In the wake of these notifications, the PRC also announced that it would conduct air and naval exercises in the vicinity of the Taiwan Strait—exercises widely assumed to be a symbolic expression of Beijing’s displeasure (SCMP, July 14). After nearly three weeks, the expected exercises reportedly commenced with drills off the coast of Zhejiang Province on July 28 (SCMP, July 29). Taiwan’s President Visits the United States in July Symbolically, the most prominent sign of closer U.S.-Taiwan ties was the two-part visit by ROC President Tsai Ing-Wen to the United States in July. Visits to U.S. soil by senior Taiwan officials, even when undertaken in a nominally private capacity, have long been sources of severe friction in both the Sino-U.S. and the cross-Strait relationships: for example, Beijing’s reaction to the June 1995 visit by then-ROC President Lee Teng-Hui to give a speech at his alma mater of Cornell University was one of the precipitating factors of the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis (UPI, June 9, 1995; Scobell, January 1999). In March 2018, the Taiwan Travel Act (TTA) was signed into U.S. law, containing language that explicitly called for reversing earlier policies under both Republican and Democratic administrations of denying travel access to the United States for senior ROC officials. [3] Although formal exchanges with Taiwan are still severely limited in comparison to states with whom the United States maintains official diplomatic relations, there has been a marked increase in U.S. visits by high-level Taiwan government officials since passage of the TTA. President Tsai first made stops in the United States in August 2018, in the course of a trip to visit Paraguay and Belize (Taiwan Today, August 21). The days spent on U.S. soil were not official visits; rather, they were treated as “transit stops” on the way to South America. However, the extended layovers allowed Tsai to engage in activities of a political and (unofficial) diplomatic nature, to include a speech delivered at the Reagan Presidential Library in Los Angeles, and a visit to the Johnson Space Center in Houston (Politico, August 20). Tsai’s remarks in California represented the first public statements made on U.S. soil by a Taiwan president since 2003, and she used the occasion both to assert Taiwan’s value as a contributing member of the international community, and to praise Reagan’s legacy as a defender of freedom throughout the world (CBS Los Angeles, April 14, 2018; ROC Presidential Office, April 14, 2018). Tsai has conducted similar “transit stops” this year, beginning with a stay in Hawaii in March, made in the course of a trip to visit diplomatic allies in the Pacific (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 27). During this stop, Tsai pressed the case for U.S. approvals of Taiwan requests for new arms purchases, and made a speech that warned against the “Hong Kong example” of PRC efforts to undermine democratic societies like Taiwan (AFP, March 28). In mid-July, President Tsai undertook a “Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability” to the Caribbean from July 13-18 to visit four of the island states that still offer diplomatic recognition to the ROC: Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia (Agencia EFE, July 14; ROC Foreign Ministry, July 15; ROC Presidential Office, July 17; St. Lucia News, July 17). [4] On both the outbound and return legs of this Caribbean trip, Tsai made stops in the United States: first in New York City on July 12-13, and then in Denver on July 19-20. Although the events conducted during these stops involved private institutions and state-level officials rather than representatives of the U.S. federal government, these meetings and speeches still represented the most ambitious and overtly political events conducted by a Taiwan political leader on U.S. soil in many years. In New York, Tsai attended a conference hosted by the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council (see accompanying image), and was the key speaker at a Columbia University discussion event. At this latter engagement President Tsai spoke forcefully to praise Taiwan’s democratic evolution, and warned against the creeping authoritarian influences promoted by the PRC. She warned that “freedom around the world is under threat like never before,” and that “given the opportunity, authoritarianism will smother even the faintest flicker of democracy” in societies like Taiwan. She warned in particular about “economic enticements with hidden strings attached,” and stated that “China exploited [Taiwan’s] reliance [on the Chinese market] as a means to infiltrate our society, an attempt to use it as a bargaining chip to be traded for our democracy” (Columbia University, July 12; ROC Presidential Office, July 13). On the return side of her Caribbean trip, President Tsai made a stop in Denver, where she was the guest at a dinner with state officials from Colorado and Wyoming (CBS Denver, July 18; Colorado Politics, July 18). She also attended multiple events hosted by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia. These included: a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO; a visit to the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Earth Observing Laboratory in Boulder, CO; and a horseback-riding excursion (Gardner Senate Office, July 25; Twitter, July 21). ROC President Tsai Ing-Wen (right) and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (left) on a horse-riding outing during Tsai’s “transit stop” in Denver, July 19-20. (Source: Twitter) Tsai’s public events in the United States drew a predictably harsh reaction from media outlets and spokespersons for the PRC. Upon Tsai’s arrival in New York, PRC Ambassador Cui Tiankai tweeted that “Taiwan is part of China. No attempts to split China will ever succeed. Those who play with fire will only get themselves burned. Period.” (Twitter, July 12). The English edition of People’s Daily opined that “the United States played the Taiwan card against China, allowing Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen to use the United States as a platform to promote ‘Taiwan independence’ and undermine China-US relations… she seized every opportunity she could to make a show of it, serving as a pawn for foreign powers to interfere in China’s internal affairs” (People’s Daily Online, July 16). Conclusion The combined weight of statements from official policy documents, an apparently more regular process for arms sales freed from political linkage, and high-level visits by ROC policymakers (even if treated in an unofficial, or only semi-official, capacity) all indicate a decisive shift in the nature of U.S. government policy towards Taiwan. Furthermore, this warming trend has been displayed in both the executive and legislative branches, and with bipartisan support across the U.S. political divide. Following the chill that settled into U.S.-Taiwan relations during the parallel George W. Bush / Chen Shui-Bian administrations, and an improved but still distant relationship between the Barack Obama / Ma Ying-Jeou administrations, the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is now the closest one seen in decades. This warming of U.S.-Taiwan ties has progressed in tandem with the steady deterioration of relations between the United States and the PRC. Beijing continues to deny any legitimacy to the government of Taiwan, and maintains the rigid position that the island is an inalienable part of Chinese territory—and that it is therefore subject to the rightful authority of the PRC and its ruling Communist Party. Any movement towards closer U.S. relations with Taiwan may therefore be expected to produce a concurrent erosion of relations with Beijing. The Trump Administration has evidently decided that, at least for now, this is a price worth paying. Whether this trend continues, and whether it survives potential future political shifts in both Washington and Taipei, will be a development well-worth watching.

Strong Israel & Taiwan ties needed to increase US deterrence vis-a-visa China

Dylan Adelman, 8-4, 19, Keep the bonds strong among the US, Israel, Taiwan and the Pacific Islands, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/455532-keep-the-bonds-strong-among-the-us-israel-taiwan-and-the-pacific, Dylan Adelman is senior program associate at the AJC Asia Pacific Institute

Mike Pompeo will become the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) when he arrives in the Pacific Island nation on Monday. His meeting with the leaders of FSM, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Palau will be a significant signal to both friends and adversaries in the Pacific that U.S. commitment to these partners is strong and growing deeper. They are several of the smallest and most isolated countries in the world. With their scarce resources, high economic volatility, health crises and the constant threat of natural disasters — notably, rising sea levels that threaten their very existence — U.S. engagement and support is indispensable. They also are of critical geopolitical importance. Each boasts healthy democracies, represents positive diplomatic voices in the international community and has a vote at the United Nations General Assembly, which they have used consistently in support of American global interests. Besides the U.S., Israel and Taiwan also have offered unique support. With profound mutual respect and diplomatic ties that date, in some cases, prior to declarations of sovereignty, bonds among these three societies and those on the Pacific Islands run deep. This is not to discount the exceptional support offered by other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan. However, the U.S., Israel and Taiwan have particularly noteworthy geopolitical stakes in the region, and room to expand relations. FSM, RMI and Palau are freely associated states of the U.S. under Compacts of Free Association (COFAs). The U.S. provides defense, funding grants and access to social services for citizens of these countries and assumes responsibility for their security. The COFAs are up for renewal in 2023 for Palau and 2024 for FSM and RMI. They will provide an opportunity to fine-tune the capacity for cooperation. Considering the escalation in tensions with China and the new Indo-Pacific Strategy, which designates the Pacific as the U.S. Department of Defense’s “priority theater,” the U.S. must escalate its security presence in the region. For Israel, the Pacific Islands are among its most steadfast allies at the United Nations. Despite their size and the absence of any Jewish population, they have been natural democratic allies of Israel for decades. Israel and the Pacific Islands share democratic values and are tenacious in defending them in the international community. Israel was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with a number of countries in the Pacific, and leaders from the region often tout the robust friendship that they share. Despite serious financial constraints, Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, operates in the freely associated states, Nauru and the Solomon Islands and provides medical assistance and water purification technologies. With nearly 40 percent of the region’s population diagnosed with noncommunicable diseases and 70 percent without access to potable water, these initiatives are warmly welcomed. Taiwan has a similar need for friends, albeit for different reasons. Only 16 out of 193 U.N. member states maintain full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and six of those are Pacific Island States. Through a steady flow of aid and frequent high-level visits, Taiwan has emerged as a dependable ally in the region. Unfortunately, China recently ramped up pressure for a shift in diplomatic recognition in the Pacific. Beijing has approached diplomatic holdouts with the promise of loans and investment packages on the one hand and the threat of economic isolation on the other. While some states have been steadfast in their commitment to Taiwan, others, such as the Solomon Islands, are debating a change in allegiance. In May, the U.S. urged Pacific Island nations to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. This position, although rarely stated publicly, has been policy for years. With increasing Chinese influence in the region and dwindling diplomatic support for Taiwan, the U.S. position remains important, as are endorsements from other parties. An argument for joint action The U.S., Israel and Taiwan share goals of assuring all want the same thing for their friends in the Pacific: economic, political and environmental security. Building resilience and showing support are necessary in achieving these goals and ensuring a sustainable future for these nations. To counter Chinese economic overtures and mounting influence, stakeholders must think in the long term, and with a combined approach of hard, soft and smart power. Although the COFAs have forged durable bilateral bonds, partnering with Israel and Taiwan in assisting the Pacific Island nations is important for U.S. policy goals in the region. Israel and Taiwan offer opportunities for joint development programs, security cooperation and a united, vocal front on the world stage.

US arms sales critical to deter an attack by China

Jamie McIntyre is the Washington Examiner’s senior writer on defense and national security, August 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/the-ticking-time-bomb-of-taiwan, The ticking time bomb of Taiwan

The foundation of the strong but unofficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan is the 40-year-old Taiwan Relations Act, which commits the U.S. to provide Taiwan “with arms of a defensive character” and “to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means” both a threat to “peace and security” and a “grave concern” to the U.S. China’s military forces are estimated at more than 2 million active duty personnel, compared to about 275,000 in Taiwan. For years, the supply of advanced U.S. weaponry and China’s limited ability to launch an amphibious assault kept the balance of power roughly equal.

China doesn’t have the military capability to invade Taiwan

David Axe, 8-13, 19, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/taiwan-getting-ready-build-new-fighter-jet-73386, Is Taiwan Getting Ready to Build a New Fighter Jet?

Chinese forces are at least as sophisticated and easily outnumber Taiwan’s own forces. But that doesn’t mean China easily could conquer Taiwan. “An attempt to invade Taiwan would likely strain China’s armed forces and invite international intervention,” according to the 2019 edition of the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on Chinese military developments. “China has an array of options for a Taiwan campaign, ranging from an air and maritime blockade to a full-scale amphibious invasion to seize and occupy some or all of Taiwan or its offshore islands,” the report continued. Report Advertisement Invading Taiwan would require large numbers of ships to cross the heavily-defended Taiwan Strait. As of 2019, China doesn’t have them. “There is no indication China is significantly expanding its landing ship force necessary for an amphibious assault on Taiwan,” the Pentagon noted. Even building more ships wouldn’t ensure victory for China. “Large-scale amphibious invasion is one of the most complicated and difficult military operations,” the American report warned. “Success depends upon air and maritime superiority, the rapid buildup and sustainment of supplies onshore and uninterrupted support.” Report Advertisement “These stresses, combined with China’s combat force attrition and the complexity of urban warfare and counterinsurgency, even assuming a successful landing and breakout, make an amphibious invasion of Taiwan a significant political and military risk.”

Strong Israel & Taiwan ties needed to increase US deterrence vis-a-visa China

Dylan Adelman, 8-4, 19, Keep the bonds strong among the US, Israel, Taiwan and the Pacific Islands, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/455532-keep-the-bonds-strong-among-the-us-israel-taiwan-and-the-pacific, Dylan Adelman is senior program associate at the AJC Asia Pacific Institute

Mike Pompeo will become the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) when he arrives in the Pacific Island nation on Monday. His meeting with the leaders of FSM, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Palau will be a significant signal to both friends and adversaries in the Pacific that U.S. commitment to these partners is strong and growing deeper. They are several of the smallest and most isolated countries in the world. With their scarce resources, high economic volatility, health crises and the constant threat of natural disasters — notably, rising sea levels that threaten their very existence — U.S. engagement and support is indispensable. They also are of critical geopolitical importance. Each boasts healthy democracies, represents positive diplomatic voices in the international community and has a vote at the United Nations General Assembly, which they have used consistently in support of American global interests. Besides the U.S., Israel and Taiwan also have offered unique support. With profound mutual respect and diplomatic ties that date, in some cases, prior to declarations of sovereignty, bonds among these three societies and those on the Pacific Islands run deep. This is not to discount the exceptional support offered by other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan. However, the U.S., Israel and Taiwan have particularly noteworthy geopolitical stakes in the region, and room to expand relations. FSM, RMI and Palau are freely associated states of the U.S. under Compacts of Free Association (COFAs). The U.S. provides defense, funding grants and access to social services for citizens of these countries and assumes responsibility for their security. The COFAs are up for renewal in 2023 for Palau and 2024 for FSM and RMI. They will provide an opportunity to fine-tune the capacity for cooperation. Considering the escalation in tensions with China and the new Indo-Pacific Strategy, which designates the Pacific as the U.S. Department of Defense’s “priority theater,” the U.S. must escalate its security presence in the region. For Israel, the Pacific Islands are among its most steadfast allies at the United Nations. Despite their size and the absence of any Jewish population, they have been natural democratic allies of Israel for decades. Israel and the Pacific Islands share democratic values and are tenacious in defending them in the international community. Israel was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with a number of countries in the Pacific, and leaders from the region often tout the robust friendship that they share. Despite serious financial constraints, Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, operates in the freely associated states, Nauru and the Solomon Islands and provides medical assistance and water purification technologies. With nearly 40 percent of the region’s population diagnosed with noncommunicable diseases and 70 percent without access to potable water, these initiatives are warmly welcomed. Taiwan has a similar need for friends, albeit for different reasons. Only 16 out of 193 U.N. member states maintain full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and six of those are Pacific Island States. Through a steady flow of aid and frequent high-level visits, Taiwan has emerged as a dependable ally in the region. Unfortunately, China recently ramped up pressure for a shift in diplomatic recognition in the Pacific. Beijing has approached diplomatic holdouts with the promise of loans and investment packages on the one hand and the threat of economic isolation on the other. While some states have been steadfast in their commitment to Taiwan, others, such as the Solomon Islands, are debating a change in allegiance. In May, the U.S. urged Pacific Island nations to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. This position, although rarely stated publicly, has been policy for years. With increasing Chinese influence in the region and dwindling diplomatic support for Taiwan, the U.S. position remains important, as are endorsements from other parties. An argument for joint action The U.S., Israel and Taiwan share goals of assuring all want the same thing for their friends in the Pacific: economic, political and environmental security. Building resilience and showing support are necessary in achieving these goals and ensuring a sustainable future for these nations. To counter Chinese economic overtures and mounting influence, stakeholders must think in the long term, and with a combined approach of hard, soft and smart power. Although the COFAs have forged durable bilateral bonds, partnering with Israel and Taiwan in assisting the Pacific Island nations is important for U.S. policy goals in the region. Israel and Taiwan offer opportunities for joint development programs, security cooperation and a united, vocal front on the world stage.

China’s military build-up aimed at aggression against Taiwan

Jamie McIntyre is the Washington Examiner’s senior writer on defense and national security, August 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/the-ticking-time-bomb-of-taiwan, The ticking time bomb of Taiwan

It’s an assessment backed up by a January 2019 Defense Intelligence Agency report which called the desire to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification as “the primary driver” for China’s military modernization. “China has built or acquired a wide array of advanced platforms, including submarines, major surface combatants, missile patrol craft, maritime strike aircraft, and land-based systems that employ new, sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles and SAMs. China also has developed the world’s first road-mobile, anti-ship ballistic missile, a system specifically designed to attack enemy aircraft carriers,” the report states. “China’s leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention.” China’s current military doctrine is centered around prevailing in regional disputes, including Taiwan, while deterring the potential for what it calls “intervention by the strong enemy,” a not very veiled reference to the U.S.

Taiwan-US ties strong now and arms sales increasing

Michael Mazza, Global Taiwan Institute, July 31, 2019, Defending against drift amid advancing US-Taiwan relations, https://www.aei.org/publication/defending-drift-us-taiwan/

In my previous article for the Global Taiwan Brief, I argued that Taipei and Washington should agree to a shared agenda for the future of their bilateral relationship. At present, ties are as strong as they have been in years, if not decades. The Trump administration has normalized the arms sales process and approved the sale of needed big-ticket items, the president has signed legislations meant to deepen bilateral ties, two-way trade is robust, senior officials across the Trump administration are strongly supportive of the US-Taiwan relationship, and Taiwan has been a dependable partner in pursuing a number of diverse US foreign policy priorities.

Taiwan will continue to develop relations with the US

Michael Mazza, Global Taiwan Institute, July 31, 2019, Defending against drift amid advancing US-Taiwan relations, https://www.aei.org/publication/defending-drift-us-taiwan/

Taiwan conceives of the United States as its most important diplomatic partner and will continue to prioritize the US-Taiwan relationship in the conduct of its foreign policy. Tawan recognizes the United States’ interest in stability in the Taiwan Strait and will take active steps to ensure long-term stability there and in the Indo-Pacific region more broadly.

China’s ability to conduct an amphibious assault on Taiwan is increasing

Sébastien Roblin, 7-27-19, Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/bad-news-china-building-three-huge-helicopter-aircraft-carriers-69472

Bad News: China is Building Three Huge Helicopter ‘Aircraft Carriers’ What will Beijing do with them? by Sebastien Roblin Along the Huangpu River in the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyards in Shanghai, the hull modules of two huge new vessels have been captured in photographs taken by passengers in overflying airliners. Then early in July 2019, ground-level images of the construction leaked onto Chinese social media. Measuring the length of two-and-half football fields and estimated to displace between 30,000-40,000 tons once in the water, the vessels appear to be the first of three Type 075 Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), essentially moving naval bases that can carry dozens of helicopters and launch amphibious landing craft from their floodable well deck. In 2017, the Type 075 was detailed (and speculatively illustrated) in a South China Morning Post article by Minnie Chen. It would be the first ship of its type to serve in the PLA Navy—and the largest deployed outside of the United States, which currently operates eight 40,000-ton Wasp-class LHDs and one 45,000-ton America-class ship. 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? The PLA Navy already has commissioned five smaller 25,000-ton Type 071 Yuzhao-class amphibious transport docks (LPDs), with two more under construction. These can carry hundreds of troops, with supporting tanks and armored vehicles, and up to four Type 726 air-cushion landing craft (LCACs) to ferry them ashore. Four SA-321 helicopters give the Type 071 a limited vertical lift capacity. By contrast, the Type 075 will be able to carry thirty helicopters, six of which can be taking off or landing at the same time, allowing it to rapidly deploy troops and supplies onto improvised forward landing zones. Meanwhile, its well deck could still accommodate two LCACs to land armored vehicles and larger cargoes. We love Seattle as much as you do. Let us help you find your next Seattle area apartment! With buildings in Capitol Hill, Belltown, Redmond, West Seattle, and many more areas of Seattle, you’re sure to find your next apt… Sponsored by Equity Apartments See More Report Advertisement Chinese internet articles furnish additional unconfirmed details, including claims the Type 075 will be powered by a 65,000-horsepower diesel engine and has a maximum speed of 22-24 knots. The Type 075 isn’t meant put itself in the line of fire, however. It reportedly will be only lightly armed with two 30-millimeter Gatling-style cannons and two short-range HQ-10 missiles launchers for close protection from incoming missiles and aircraft, meaning it would realistically depend on escorting vessels to provide layered air defenses. Given the increasing capability of modern anti-ship missiles, some question the viability of large vessels like the Type 075. Report Advertisement This begs the question: what roles could huge helicopter carriers play for the PLA Navy? Supporting an Amphibious Invasion LHDs are a type of “amphibious assault ships”—vessels that help land and supply troops onto hostile shores. That’s a task a vessel like the Type 075 could perform very efficiently with its capacious hold and large helicopter wing. Indeed, the People’s Liberation Army maintains significant amphibious warfare forces. Its Marine Corps recently tripled in size to 40,000 personnel, while the PLA Ground Forces also maintain tens of thousands of troops specialized in amphibious warfare, equipped with amphibious Type 63 and ZTD-5 tanks and ZBD-5 fighting vehicles. These formations are foremost maintained with an eye to being able to credibly threaten an invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. China also has disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam over other islands—and even fought two naval battles with the latter for control of the Paracel and Spratly islands in 1974 and 1988 respectively. Report Advertisement But the transport capacity to deploy Chinese troops on hostile beachheads is limited. Thus vessels like the Type 075 will significantly improve the PLAN’s amphibious-landing “bandwidth.” Chinese military and paramilitary forces are also building a network of island bases across the western Pacific, many hosting surveillance radars, airfields, docks and missile batteries. Supplying and reinforcing these often isolated island bases poses logistical challenges that LHDs could greatly alleviate. Report Advertisement Countering the Submarine Threat Helicopters equipped with dipping sonars are particularly effective at detecting and engaging submarines. An LHD with abundant helicopters to deploy could provide a “bubble” of anti-submarine coverage and be deployed on missions to interdict likely submarine transit lanes, escort vulnerable task forces and convoys, and chase down suspicious sonar contacts. Report Advertisement This mission is particularly vital for the PLA Navy because U.S. and Japanese submarines have major advantages in acoustic stealth over their Chinese counterparts and would not have their freedom of maneuver constrained by long-range, land-based anti-ship missiles the way hostile surface ships would be. Thus, Chinese profiles of the Type 075 have stressed its application in anti-submarine warfare. To a lesser extent, Airborne Early Warning (AEW) helicopters onboard LHDs could also provide forewarning of hostile aerial activity to the benefit of nearby ships. However, LHDs and their helicopters would depend on other assets to actually intercept aerial contacts. Report Advertisement Disaster Relief, Anti-Piracy and Foreign National Evacuation In the hopeful absence of a major conflict with the United States, Chinese LHDs and their onboard helicopters would be extremely useful for disaster relief missions, expatriate or medical emergency evacuations, anti-piracy and smuggling patrols, and peacekeeping deployment. Such contingencies seem likely to occur as China’s commercial, political and military influence continues to expand across Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Africa. Report Advertisement Maritime Strike Report Advertisement Chinese sources have also noted the Type 075 could carry helicopters armed with air-to-surface missiles. This is undoubtedly true but must be appreciated in context: most helicopters lack strike range and survivability versus adversaries with significant air range defenses. However, in hypothetical littoral or archipelago-style battle spaces where the anti-air threat is more limited, maritime strike helicopters could usefully chase down hostile vessels, perform strikes against fixed positions, and provide air support for landed troops. Chinese Naval Helicopters One of the early benefits of China’s warming relations with the West in the 1970s was the acquisition of French helicopters. China eventually began license manufacturing its own versions, the Z-8 (based on the SA-320 Super Frelon) and the Z-9, based on the AS-565 Panther, all of which are operated by the PLA Navy. The three-engine Super Frelons and Z-8s are large and fast. Capable of carrying up to twenty-six troops at once, some are also equipped with torpedoes and dipping sonars for anti-submarine warfare, or specially adapted for search-and-rescue and medical evacuation roles. China has also evolved the Z-8 into the larger Changhe Z-18. China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, currently operates Z-18F Sea Eagle anti-submarine helicopters and the Z-18J Bat AEW choppers, which have extendible flat-panel active-electronically scanned array radars in their bellies. The medium-sized Z-9 helicopter family includes models outfitted for anti-submarine warfare, and an AEW variant with a K-Band radar. While the PLA Navy lacks an equivalent to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Sea Cobra gunships, the missile-armed Z-9WA model could conceivably be adapted for shipboard operations. Finally, the PLAN also operates nineteen bizarre-looking Ka-27 “Helix” anti-submarine helicopters bought from Russia as well as nine Ka-31 AEW choppers, distinguished by their contra-rotating rotors. However, the PLAN conspicuously lacks two types of aircraft that significantly enhance the combat power of other amphibious assault ships across the globe. First, China has no tilt-rotor aircraft like the V-22 Osprey, helicopter/airplane hybrids with vertical takeoff capability of the former, and improved range and speed of the latter. More importantly, the PLAN has no vertical-takeoff capable jump jets like the Harrier or F-35B, which would not only give Chinese amphibious carriers air defense capability but also greatly improve their surface-strike capacity. The PLAN will be particularly keeping an eye on F-35Bs deployed on Japanese—and likely South Korean—carriers. For now, there’s no indication China is seeking to develop such technically challenging (and often accident-prone) aircraft. According to Rick Joe of The Diplomat, the lead Type 075 may launch late in 2019 or by mid-2020. All three of the initial flights may be launched by 2022 given the current apparent pace of construction, and Joe estimates additional LHDs, possibly of a revised and enlarged configuration, are likely to follow.

Stratfor Worldview, 7-27, 19, How China Wants to Become an Amphibious Assault Powerhttps://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/how-china-wants-become-amphibious-assault-power-69641

In a defense white paper released July 24, China did not rule out the use of force against Taiwanese “separatists,” making the state of its amphibious assault capabilities — which it would rely on in any effort to forcibly reunify the island with the mainland — once again of wide interest. In the past few months, numerous images have surfaced showcasing significant progress in the construction of China’s first landing helicopter dock vessel, the Type 075, the first of which is expected to be launched later this year. This is just the latest development in the continued upgrade of China’s amphibious capabilities, though China has by no means conquered all of the issues that would limit its ability to carry out a successful amphibious invasion. Amphibious capability, or the ability to project ground and air power across the sea to another shore, is a vital component of the Chinese military’s mission. The capability has attained new prominence in China’s strategic planning as its global interests grow — interests it increasingly seeks to protect. The ability to quickly land reinforcements, perhaps in pursuit of seizing islands it claims, is key to China’s South China Sea strategy, where it must compete with multiple other territorial claimants. Even more important to Beijing, a well-developed amphibious capability is vital to one of China’s most cherished political and military goals, the incorporation of Taiwan under mainland control. 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened On This Day? A Three-Pronged Amphibious Capability Aside from some niche capabilities, China’s development of military sealift capacity broadly breaks down into three main components. The first is China’s large fleet of about 60 large landing ships, mainly the various Type 072 variants, designed to carry troops, cargo and vehicles like tanks and offload them directly onto a beach via bow doors and ramps. These are complemented by nearly 100 army-controlled landing craft. While these landing ships and landing craft would be the workhorses of any large-scale amphibious landing, their need to move directly up onto a beach makes them vulnerable to shore defenses. Report Advertisement The second component is China’s fleet of Type 071 amphibious transport docks, which until now were the most capable amphibious vessels in Chinese military service. China has completed eight of these large ships, which are designed to offload troops and vehicles primarily through a floodable well deck from which amphibious vehicles and hovercraft can be disgorged. Not having to land on a beach gives the Type 071 more survivability and flexibility than conventional landing ships. Finally, the third component is the Type 075, three of which may be under construction at China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard. A large amphibious vessel, the Type 075’s primary distinction from the Type 071 is its greater focus on helicopter operations, which is partly made possible by reducing the size of its well deck in exchange for a larger helicopter hangar and aviation facilities. When the Type 075 enters service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Chinese will have all the core elements necessary for a truly rounded amphibious warfare capability with which to project marines and ground troops to disputed shores. Report Advertisement Ongoing Obstacles For all its progress in developing amphibious capabilities, the Chinese program still has numerous weaknesses. One of these is a clear shortage of helicopters to equip the large number of big-deck amphibious ships coming into service. Up to now, the Chinese could largely meet their helicopter requirements even with the rapid buildup of Type 071 ships given that the Type 071s can carry just four helicopters. Its demand for rotary-wing aviation assets, however, is set to soar given that each Type 075 ship being built would normally have an aviation wing of about 30 helicopters. Fully equipping the whole Chinese amphibious fleet would require the production of hundreds of new helicopters over the next several years. While it could produce enough for the fleet, competing demands for helicopters from rest of its naval forces and the other branches of its armed forces, including many army units that have older helicopter variants in need of replacement, will strain its capabilities. New multipurpose helicopters such as the Harbin Z-20 that would suit all China’s military branches are coming into service, but they are unlikely to be produced in sufficient numbers in the short term to fully meet the Chinese military’s requirements. China’s growing amphibious fleet will therefore increasingly have to compete with the rest of the Chinese military for rotary-wing assets. A second issue has to do with the Type 726 LCAC (short for “Landing Craft Air Cushion”) that China uses to transfer some of its forces from the Type 071 and Type 075 vessels to the beach during amphibious landings. These hovercraft nominally provide a valuable capability by permitting the Type 071 and Type 075 vessels to launch their embarked forces without coming in too close to the shore, where they would be at added risk from shore-based enemy units. The Type 075 probably can carry two Type 726s, while the Type 071 can carry up to four due to its larger well deck. But even though there are enough Type 726s to go around, with many of them being rapidly constructed in China’s Jiangnan Shipyard near Shanghai, problems with the Type 726 program have emerged. Many seemingly complete Type 726s have long remained idle at Jiangnan Shipyard, while those at sea during training are usually seen carrying only notably light loads. Such details bolster rumors that the Type 726 engines are underpowered and awaiting a fix or a total replacement. Finally, the significant progress being done to enhance China’s amphibious fleet may still not be enough to allow the Chinese to conduct a successful invasion of Taiwan in the short term. The Chinese currently have the amphibious capacity to land about four divisions (about 40,000 troops) against Taiwan in the first wave of a contested landing. The addition of Type 075 vessels to the amphibious fleet will augment this force and add to its flexibility, but probably not enough to ensure success in what would remain a very risky operation for China. But limitations aside, China’s amphibious fleet continues to rapidly evolve and strengthen. In the short term, the entry of Type 075 vessels into the fleet alongside Type 071s will significantly expand China’s expeditionary capabilities. In the longer term, as remaining problems are ironed out and the amphibious fleet grows, the Chinese may even develop a credible option for an amphibious landing in a conflict against Taiwan, one of the primary conflict scenarios for which the Chinese military trains.

Reducing the US commitment to Taiwan undermines perceptions of the US as a reliable partner

Zakheim, 8-12, 19, Dov S. Zakheim is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and vice chairman of the board for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He was under secretary of Defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Department of Defense from 2001 to 2004 and a deputy under secretary of Defense from 1985 to 1987, https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/456908-if-china-crushes-hong-kong-is-taiwan-next

The United States has been committed to the security of Taiwan since the 1949 communist takeover of the mainland. It has maintained that commitment ever since, the 1979 China Relations Act’s recognition of the People’s Republic by Washington notwithstanding. At a time when American reliability is being questioned around the world, signaling uncertainty about America’s ability to defend Taiwan would further undermine Washington’s standing as a credible ally, especially in East Asia. On the other hand, reaffirming that Washington’s longtime strategy of deterrence, based primarily on the power of American maritime and air forces, remains solidly intact would signal that Washington’s national security policy is more than just words on paper.

Strategic ambiguity decreasing, US fully committing to Taiwan vis-à-vis China

Sharpe, 8-5, 19, William E Sharp Jr holds a Master of Arts in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and a Master of Education in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard. During the 1980s, he lived in Japan, where he taught English and worked as a freelance writer. During late 2017 and early 2018, he was a Fudan Fellow (visiting scholar) in the Center for Taiwan Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai, The changing world of US-Taiwan ties

As America’s Indo-Pacific strategy evolves, the notion of “strategic ambiguity,” which has guided the US-Taiwan relationship since the mid-1950s, is withering. After the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1954-55, the US brought into force the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Taiwan. The treaty was never intended to be a war-fighting pact, but was designed to boost Taiwan’s morale and to tie the hands of Chiang Kai-shek, who was always scheming to involve the US in his attempts to return to China. US president Dwight Eisenhower and secretary of state John Foster Dulles trusted neither Chiang nor Beijing. Thus they built strategic ambiguity into the treaty to keep Taipei and Beijing both guessing about the circumstances under which the US might intercede in a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Ever since then, each successive US administration has adopted a version of strategic ambiguity. Although the MDT was abrogated in 1980, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, effective 1979) carries much of the same language. For example, in Section 3a, the TRA commits the US to selling defensive weapons to Taiwan. Section 3c further stipulates that “the President and Congress shall determine in accordance with the constitutional processes appropriate action by the US in response to any threat to the security or the social or economic system of Taiwan and danger to the interests of the US.” Just as the US understood that Chiang wanted American support for his return to China, another aspect emerged when the US was concerned that Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian (in office from 2000 to 2008) sought to involve the US military to gain Taiwan independence. Never being sure of the US response, strategic ambiguity helped prevent Chiang’s and Chen’s adventurism. It also signaled to Beijing that the US would not support either pursuit while at the same time keeping Beijing guessing just what assistance the US might offer to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attempt to take the island. The positive effects of strategic ambiguity aside, the policy also hatched Taiwanese distrust about the degree to which the US would stand by its MDT and TRA commitments. Certain language found in key documents influencing the US-Taiwan diplomatic and defense relationship have created uncertainty in Taipei about US commitment. Most of that uncertainty deals with arms sales – specifically, the duration of US arms sales to Taiwan, differing perceptions over the definitions of defensive vs offensive weapons, the frequency of arms sales, and the one-sided US role in determining which weapons it will sell to Taiwan. Things have been changing lately. US geo-strategic interests and recent US legislation show shrinking concern for strategic ambiguity and more clear support for Taiwan. As China seeks to expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region at American expense, the US seeks to solidify its position by ramping up its strategy for the region. As such, Taiwan’s geo-strategic position takes on new importance. Control of Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army Navy would offer China enhanced influence in the first island chain, a seaway to the second island chain, and ultimately a gateway to the Western Pacific. Taiwan now sees an opportunity to play a significant role in US defense strategy instead of being left out of key US policies for the region . To stem the growth of Chinese influence, the current US administration produced the National Security Strategy of 2017 pointing out the importance of Taiwan to the United States. Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows higher-level officials and military officers from both the US and Taiwan to travel to each country to interact, and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which promotes US diplomatic, security, and economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region. The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is considering the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Act of 2018 (TAIPEI Act of 2018), which would authorize punitive measures against countries that break diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The act will need to be reintroduced in the current Congress, since it was not passed before the end of the 115th Congress. In addition, the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019 passed in the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. It states that Taiwan is an important part of US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, directs the US to transfer more defense articles to Taiwan to help build its self-defense, and requires the Department of State to review guidance governing US-Taiwan relations, as well as to supervise corrective action. The National Defense Authorization Acts of 2019 (Section 1258) and 2020 (Section 1248) support strengthening US and defense cooperation with Taiwan by noting that “the Taiwan Relations Act and the ‘Six Assurances’ are both cornerstones of United States relations with Taiwan.” Taiwan wishes to play a greater strategic regional role through having closer relations with the US, which the island state sees as greater insurance against a Chinese invasion and more assurance that the US will act in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. The decline in emphasis of strategic ambiguity and greater US policy clarity toward Taiwan will certainly influence defense and diplomacy in East Asia. Most important, it will alter calculations on both sides of the Taiwan Strait regarding the efficacy of military assault on Taiwan. If elected in January 2020, pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) presidential nominee Han Kuo-yu would likely serve China’s cross-strait interests. Unlike Democratic Progressive Party nominee Tsai Ing-wen, the incumbent president, Han advocates the 1992 Consensus, a possible Taiwan-China peace treaty, and deepening of economic relations between Taiwan and China. It is doubtful he would support a closer strategic US-Taiwan relationship similar to Tsai.

China is a growing anti-Democratic military threat to Taiwan

Carpenter, August 3, 2019, Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of 12 books and more than 800 articles on international affairs, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/prepare-more-authoritarian-china-70861, Prepare for a More Authoritarian China

There was no question that he was determined to enhance and perpetuate his dominant role. Although China remained a one-party state even after the demise of Mao Zedong’s totalitarian rule, implicit political reforms became an impediment to rule by a single individual. An especially crucial measure was the establishment of term limits on the powerful post of president. Xi and his followers eliminated that restriction in 2018, enabling him to hold the office indefinitely. Do You Know What Happened On This Day An array of autocratic policies has accompanied the growth and perpetuation of Xi’s personal authority. The government’s Orwellian “social-credit” system is used to restrict the travel and other rights of actual or potential critics. Prominent liberal economists, who once enjoyed Beijing’s favor or at least toleration, are now targets of growing campaigns of harassment. Only incurable optimists or the willfully blind would argue that today’s China is more tolerant and open than it was a decade ago. The trend is toward greater repression and regimentation, not greater liberalization. Beijing’s foreign policy is exhibiting a similar worrisome pattern. As its military power has expanded, China’s behavior has become noticeably less accommodating, if not outright aggressive, in such locales as the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea. In the East China Sea, Beijing is contesting Japan’s control of the Senkaku islands and pressing its own claim to that territory. In addition to national pride, China’s pressure reflects a desire to control extensive fishing resources and probable oil and mineral wealth in the waters surrounding the uninhabited Senkakus. Beijing’s belligerence is even more evident in the Taiwan Strait. A senior Chinese official, Liu Junchuan, boasted that “the contrast in power across the Taiwan Strait will become wider and wider, and we will have a full, overwhelming strategic advantage over Taiwan.” Speaking on June 1, 2019, at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the annual multilateral conference on Pacific security issues, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe warned against efforts either in Taiwan or foreign countries to thwart China’s goal of reunification. Wei added ominously, “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will have no choice but to fight at all costs, for national unity.” In addition to its own accelerated military activities in the Taiwan Strait, China is reacting with intense hostility to the transit of naval vessels from any other country. Most of Beijing’s angry protests have been directed at the United States for sending warships through the Strait, but Chinese officials display similar intolerance toward other powers. When a French naval vessel sailed through the Strait. Beijing responded with a vitriolic protest. It is evident that Chinese leaders not only regard Taiwan as part of China, but also consider the entire Strait to be Chinese territorial waters. There also are multiple signs of a more assertive, uncompromising Chinese policy in the South China Sea. China’s protests about U.S. “freedom of navigation” patrols have become increasingly shrill, and China’s warships are now shadowing and harassing the American vessels. There are worrisome threats from the Chinese military hierarchy to escalate the confrontational policy. Beijing’s autocratic domestic and international tendencies blend together in the government’s policy toward Hong Kong. When the PRC regained sovereignty over Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, Chinese officials assured residents that they would enjoy extensive self-rule. Hong Kong was legally designated as a “Special Administrative Region” to emphasize its unique autonomy. Beijing would make decisions pertaining to foreign policy and national security, but on most other matters, the people of Hong Kong would run their own affairs. Unfortunately, the Chinese government’s erosion of that autonomy has accelerated in recent years. When Beijing and its appointed chief executive in Hong Kong proposed an extradition agreement that would have given the PRC enormous leverage over Hong Kong’s ostensibly independent judicial system, large, angry demonstrations erupted. Chief executive Carrie Lam then withdrew the bill from consideration, but anti-government demonstrations have persisted and even grown in both size and virulence. Beijing indicates how it is likely to respond if such defiant behavior persists. A defense ministry official warned that demonstrators were now challenging the authority of the central government and the principle of “one country, two systems”—the legal basis of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Chinese military command stated further that troops can be deployed to Hong Kong to maintain order at the request of the city’s government, adding that the July 21 siege of the mainland government’s liaison office in the city was “intolerable.” Such a “request” would come from Hong Kong’s chief executive—i.e., Beijing’s appointee. That warning is more than a little ominous. However, such a crackdown might finally gain the attention of politicians, pundits, and policy wonks in the United States who have thus far persisted in the illusion that engagement with China will inevitably lead to that country’s political liberalization and peaceful international behavior. True, greater economic openness and trade with the outside world has produced a remarkable improvement in the living standards of the Chinese people, and that development is gratifying. But members of the political and foreign policy communities in the United States and throughout the democratic West need to face the reality that such progress has not led either to political reform in China or more accommodating behavior from Beijing abroad. Indeed, the trends in both cases point in the opposite direction

China’s military power and threat increasing, particularly towards Taiwan

Erickson, 7-29-19, Andrew S. Erickson is a Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Fairbank Center. He runs www.andrewerickson.com and co-manages www.ChinaSignPost.com, China’s Defense White Paper Means Only One Thing: Trouble Ahead

Lately, Beijing has been making forceful statements and backing them with impactful actions. Speaking at the Aspen Security Dialogue on 18 July 2019, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson described People’s Republic of China (PRC) Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe’s 2 June speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue as “quite chilling.” “Not only did [Wei] make it clear that he didn’t think Asia and the Western Pacific was any place for America, he said Asia wasn’t even for Asians—it was for the Chinese.” Then, “within 24 hours of that they tested a new nuclear ballistic missile,” the submarine-launched JL-3. On 8 July, at a forum of defense ministers from Latin America and Pacific island nations in China, Wei acknowledged that Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative—in Davidson’s words, “was indeed a way to put a military foothold within other places around the globe.” “Within hours of that,” Davidson added, “they shot six anti-ship ballistic missiles—new ones that they have developed—into the South China Sea…the first time they have done an at-sea test.” To Davidson, “once might be a coincidence, but seeing this happen twice is indeed a message….” Most recently, on 24 July the PRC released “China’s National Defense in the New Era,” its first major military policy document for an international audience in four years. What statements, then, does this 2019 Defense White Paper make? What actions may follow from it?… As an assertion of policy, however, China’s 2019 Defense White Paper clearly follows from General Wei’s remarks. It clearly embodies Xi’s self-dictated era, strategy, goals, reforms, and rhetoric. At its core, it reflects an unabashed Chinese Communist Party-led effort to make China great again at home and abroad while allowing no domestic or foreign foe to disrupt this self-assigned historic mission. This year’s Defense White Paper replaces innovation and revelation glimpsed in previous iterations with an emphasis on implementation and justification. It lacks the 2006 edition’s extensive coverage of Border and Coastal Defense organizational structure, including the latest trends in “Militia Force Building,” and the 2015 edition’s substantive statements explaining the PLA’s transition to an unprecedented joint naval and aerospace orientation. The latter, China’s first-ever Defense White Paper on strategy, showed the PLA embracing new concepts and missions that represented significant innovations in safeguarding China’s national security. These doctrinal developments reflected the PLA’s adoption of a new strategic guideline in summer 2014, its ninth since 1956: “winning informatized local wars” (打赢信息化局部战争). Five areas merit particular mention as strategic emphases that the PLA has been implementing over the past four years. Report Advertisement First, in explicating China’s latest “military strategic guideline,” the 2015 Defense White Paper cited changes to the security environment, including accelerated worldwide use of “long-range, precise, smart, stealthy and unmanned weapons.” As for the nature of the local wars that the PLA must prepare to fight and win, it highlighted, in particular, the need to prepare for “maritime military struggle.” Second, it emphasized comprehensive full-spectrum operations: peacetime probing and pressure, as well as combat readiness. It articulated a “holistic view of national security” encompassing both traditional and nontraditional security. Related tasks included “comprehensively manag[ing] crises,” “enrich[ing] the strategic concept of active defense,” and “establish[ing] an integrated joint operational system in which all elements are seamlessly linked and various operational platforms perform independently and in coordination.” Third, it emphasized the need to safeguard Beijing’s increasingly complex, far-ranging overseas interests. It stressed that “the national security issues facing China encompass far more subjects, extend over a greater range, and cover a longer time span than at any time in the country’s history.” These include four “critical domains” and corresponding forces: “seas and oceans, outer space, cyberspace, and nuclear….” Fourth, it contained unprecedented maritime emphasis. Notably, it stated, “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned… great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.” It underscored determination to strengthen Chinese “strategic management of the sea.” It called for China to “build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure.” Fifth, it emphasized growing power projection capabilities. “The PLAN will continue to organize and perform regular combat readiness patrols and maintain a military presence in relevant sea areas,” it stated. This entailed moving from “near seas defense” to “the combination of ‘near seas defense’ and ‘far seas protection’.” This first mention of the latter phrase (远海护卫) in a Defense White Paper suggested the need to develop a limited blue water navy. Key Takeaways: In contrast to the 2015 Defense White Paper’s new strategic thinking, the 2019 edition reflects intensification, implementation, and justification. Perhaps the biggest change is in tone, aptly summarized in the South China Morning Post: “Cooperation is out in favour of antagonism and complaint.” In framing world events, the report envisions a new international order emerging. But this trend is complicated by rising great power competition, with the paper placing particular blame on the United States and its key regional allies. The report also notes pronounced Russian emphasis on nuclear weapons, but appears to excuse it for the sake of larger bilateral efforts: Beijing and Moscow are attempting to show that their strategic partnership is not merely one of convenience. In the short run, the two great powers share interests in opposing efforts of the United States and its allies to maintain their equities, and key aspects of, today’s international system. And there are still substantial, albeit dwindling, areas of Russian weapons technology and expertise from which China can benefit greatly. Of course, none of this precludes future discord stemming from Chinese strength and Russian weakness in the form of border, migration, ethnocultural, and resource tensions; as well as economic asymmetries and China’s relentless quest to obtain critical technologies by all means necessary. Report Advertisement Worryingly, the Defense White Paper contains intensified rhetoric doubling down on domestic stability imperatives and sovereignty claims vis-à-vis Taiwan and the South and East China Seas. In explaining the report and its significance, the Central Military Commission’s Office for International Military Cooperation (OIMC) is unapologetically assertive: “China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.” The report’s wording resolving to prevent “East Turkestan” independence and to pursue cross-Strait reunification, in particular, appears stronger than before. Characteristically providing no specifics, the paper states, “Since 2014, the [People’s Armed Police] has assisted the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in taking out 1,588 violent terrorist gangs and capturing 12,995 terrorists.” Regarding cross-strait issues, the 2019 report contains even stronger wording than the ten previous editions. As OIMC itself states: “The document especially points out that solving the Taiwan question and achieving complete reunification of the country is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and essential to realizing national rejuvenation. The People’s Liberation Army will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs, the white paper stresses, clearly conveying China’s firm will to oppose any interference by foreign forces and defend its own core interests.” Report Advertisement As mentioned previously, China’s 2015 Defense White Paper placed unprecedented emphasis on Beijing’s growing external security focus. Now, the 2019 edition states, “One of the missions of China’s armed forces is to effectively protect the security and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese people, organizations and institutions.” Perhaps the most significant related event of the four-year interim was the August 2017 entry into service of China’s first overseas military facility, the “PLA Djibouti Support Base.” The report suggests that additional “overseas logistical facilities” are in development, but—characteristically—offers no details regarding their potential nature or location. Here it is interesting to consider recent reports of an agreement allowing China to use Cambodia’s Ream naval base. Cambodian and Chinese officials have issued vague denials that do not fully clarify the situation. In any case, it is worth recalling an event once described to the author: Premier Zhou Enlai reportedly told a foreign delegation that if China ever attempted to establish an overseas base, foreigners should join patriotic Chinese in thoroughly opposing the PRC government to prevent such an ‘imperialist’ development. One might imagine Zhou’s reaction were he to learn of a PLA “Base” of any sort operating thousands of kilometers from China. Now consider what other PRC policies might evolve over time. Observers should look elsewhere for the latest insights on the specifics of PLA development, but no one should miss the ambition, assertiveness, and resolve permeating this official policy document. Real and consequential actions will follow from these sometimes vague but often forceful statements. Prepare for trouble ahead: we have been warned.”

Taiwan-US ties have deepened

Focus Taiwan, 7-22, 19, http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201907220013.aspx,

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Monday after returning from a 12-day trip to the United States and the Caribbean that her visit strengthened Taiwan’s ties with the countries she visited. Speaking after arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Tsai said her stops in the U.S. were longer than in the past, allowing her to exchange ideas with U.S. officials and scholars and members of think tanks, scientific research institutions and the business sector. “Some say they have seen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship upgraded, but I think ‘deepened’ would be the right word to describe current bilateral relations,” she said.

Stopping F-16V sales is not a reduction. We they may not even be sold

Roblin, June 20, 2019, Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring., Will Taiwan Get the New F-16V Fighters It Desperately Wants?, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/will-taiwan-get-new-f-16v-fighters-it-desperately-wants-67932

On July 8, the U.S. State Department announced it would approve a $2.2 billion arms deal with Taiwan including 108 Abrams main battle tanks and 250 Stinger man-portable surface-to-air missiles—a deal which elicited new sanctions from Beijing on the companies involved. But the announcement was more notable for what the approval didn’t include—a nearly done-deal for sixty-six F-16V jet fighters built fresh off the F-16 production line in Greenville, South Carolina. This would have been the first sale of new Western combat jets to Taiwan since 1992—a fact not unrelated to Beijing’s claims that sales of jet fighters to the “renegade province” constitute a redline. 0 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? This stance caused three prior U.S. presidents to shy away from additional jet sales, but from the beginning, the Trump administration has proven consistently willing to disregard Beijing’s sensitivities regarding Taiwan. The absence of the F-16V deal from the July 8 approval was likely linked to U.S.-China negotiations to end a simmering trade war. Perhaps the Trump administration delayed or canceled the F-16V approval to avoid sabotaging the talks, or is withholding the jets as a possible bargaining chip to extract concessions from Beijing. For now, the deal’s fate remains uncertain as Taipei and its allies in Congress lobby strongly for it to proceed.

New tanks a substantial improvement over old tanks

Roblin, June 20, 2019, Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring., Will Taiwan Get the New F-16V Fighters It Desperately Wants?, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/will-taiwan-get-new-f-16v-fighters-it-desperately-wants-67932

The new M1A2T tanks mark a significant improvement on the over 1,000 Cold War-era Patton main battle tanks operated by the Republic of China Army. These include both M48 and M60 models, and Taiwanese hybrids called the CM11 and CM12. The Pattons’ 105-millimeter guns have dicey odds at best at penetrating the frontal armor of modern People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Type 96 and Type 99 tanks, which in turn could easily penetrate the Patton’s old-fashioned steel armor with their 125-millimeter guns. The Abrams brings to the table an even more powerful 120-millimeter gun and formidable Chobham composite armor, though likely not incorporating the advanced depleted-uranium armor package used in U.S. Army Abrams.

Taiwan needs F-16vs to fight an air war

Roblin, June 20, 2019, Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring., Will Taiwan Get the New F-16V Fighters It Desperately Wants?, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/will-taiwan-get-new-f-16v-fighters-it-desperately-wants-67932

However, some commentators have disparaged the tank purchase. While ROC tanks in the past crushed a poorly supported Chinese amphibious landing in the Battle of Guningtou, a modern conflict over Taiwan would likely be won or lost in the air and sea before land forces enter the picture. That’s why the F-16V buy was seen as a big deal. Not only do China’s 1,700 combat aircraft outnumber Taiwan’s 380 combat jets (including ninety-three combat-capable two-seat trainer variants)—the PLA is also fielding increasing numbers of 4.5-generation jets like the J-11D and Su-35, as well as a handful of fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter, that outperform even Taiwan’s F-16s, Mirages and F-CK-1s. In 2018, the PLA Air Force displayed its improved capabilities by dispatching H-6 bombers and escorting fighters on patrols that effectively “encircled” Taiwan—showing that it could attack from the east as well as the direct route from the west. In April 2019, instructions by Chinese J-11s across the “median line” demarcating Taiwanese airspace led President Tsai Ing-wen to declare the ROCAF would henceforth “forcibly expel” future intruders. Because Beijing has made it extremely difficult for Taiwan to acquire modern jet fighters, the ROCAF has had to focus on modernizing older ones. Thus, Taiwan has unsuccessfully explored upgrading its fifty-five French Mirage 2000-5 jets, and recently completed upgrades of its 102 domestically-built F-CK-1 jets to an improved C and D models. Report Advertisement In 2018, the United States also recently furnished millions of dollars in spare parts for Taiwan’s fifty-five dated F-5E and F Freedom Fighter jets serving in attack and training roles. Taiwan’s biggest coup to date has been a $5.3 billion deal to upgrade its 144 F-16A and B Block 20 jets to a cutting-edge F-16V or “Block 72” configuration. Roughly twenty-five F-16As and B are being upgraded per year. Report Advertisement While the F-16 is renowned for its exceptional agility, twenty-first-cenutry aerial warfare is thought to depend foremost on which side detects and effectively engages the other first from beyond visual range. Thus, the F-16V’s most significant improvement is the introduction of an APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with greatly improved range and resolution, the capability to track twenty targets simultaneously, and superior jamming resistance. F-16V pilots also benefit from a Helmet-Mounted Cueing System to lock on to adversaries within visual range simply by looking at them, rather than having to train their aircraft’s nose towards them. These are linked with new AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles designed to engage targets up to 90 degrees “off-boresight.” Report Advertisement These systems work in conjunction with a new Modular Mission Computers, digital 8×6” cockpit displays, high-speed data busses, and Link-16 datalink—a type widely used by the U.S. military. The F-16V also includes an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, which has already proven effective in averting accidents—a vital safeguard given Taiwan’s difficulties replacing lost jets The upgrade deal was bundled with authorization to purchase AIM-9X missiles, as well as new electronic warfare pods, precision-guided glide bombs, CBU-105 cluster bombs, and Sniper targeting pods for use with those bombs. A subsequent deal in 2017 authorized sale of standoff-range AGM-154C JSOW cruise missiles and AGM-88B HARM radar-homing missiles, raising the prospect Taiwan was developing the capability to launch aerial counterstrike on the mainland. Report Advertisement If the order for the sixty-six brand-new F-16Vs goes through, the newly-built jets may incorporate additional upgrades that haven’t been retrofitted into Taiwan’s F-16As: higher-thrust F110-GE-129 or -132 engines and possibly conformal fuel tanks (CFTs). Resembling muscly bulges slung along the F-16’s upper fuselage, CFTs are a substitute for wing-mounted drop tanks, which impinge on aerodynamics, radar cross-section and payload capacity. Both upgraded and newly built F-16Vs serve with or are on order for Bahrain, Bulgaria, Greece, Morocco, Slovakia and South Korea. Taiwanese media has claimed the F-16V deal may cost $7.8 to $8 billion. While that seemingly implies a surprisingly stiff $121 million per aircraft for an ostensibly low-cost jet, the deal is almost surely rounded out with maintenance packages, munitions, spare parts and training support. Taiwan had previously considered operating F-35 Lightning II stealth jets, but decided not to due to the type’s operating expense and ongoing teething issues. Washington may also have feared F-35 technology could be leaked to mainland China. While sixty-six more F-16Vs would help Taiwan diminish a rapidly growing capability gap with the PLA Air Force, that gap still yawns wide—particularly because Taiwanese fighter units will remain vulnerable to attack while on the ground by the hundreds of short and medium-range ballistic missiles the PLA has arrayed to barrage the island in the event of a conflict. The ROCAF has tried to mitigate the threat from such plunging missiles by building air bases in hollowed out-mountains like the lair of a James Bond villain, and also demonstrated its F-16s can land on highways. Given mainland China’s ever-growing quantitative and even qualitative edge, Taiwan can only gamble that procuring new jets and pursuing projects like domestically-built submarines may nonetheless raise the perceived costs of using military force against it.

China aggressive and seeking to overturn the global order and boost the US from Asia. A credible US posture that supports its allies is critical to sustain US reliability and deterrence in Asia. Absent that, war, including nuclear escalation, are likely.

Michael Mandlebaum, 2019, The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth, Michael Mandelbaum (born 1946)[1] is the Christian A. Herter Professor and Director of the American Foreign Policy program at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.[2] He has written 10 books on American foreign policy and edited 12 more.[3] He most recently authored Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era.[4

Moreover, China’s international economic program fostered competition with the existing, Western-sponsored institutions and practices; and in free-market economies competition is desirable: it drives the engine of progress. Security competition, however, does not have comparably benign effects; and by seeking to revise the existing political rules and distribution of power, China reintroduced security competition to East Asia. Unlike its economic initiatives, China’s challenge to the political status quo took a military form, and the form it took broke with Chinese precedent: the communist regime contested the region’s political rules and norms, and its distribution of power, at sea rather than on land. For the first time in more than 500 years,55 China built a formidable navy. While it has 14,000 miles of land borders, with fourteen adjacent countries,56 it was not disputes about them that broke the post-Cold War peace. In fact, China settled some of those disputes. Instead, the Chinese initiated security competition with its neighbors through maritime measures of several kinds. It made, or revived, sweeping and provocative territorial claims, which conflicted both with established international norms and with the claims of other East Asian countries. China began actively to assert its long-standing but previously dormant claim to small, uninhabited islands located northeast of Taiwan and controlled by Japan, which the Japanese called the Senkakus and the Chinese the Diaoyu. In 2010 a Chinese fishing trawler deliberately rammed two Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the islands. The Japanese took the trawler’s captain into custody, touching off a diplomatic dispute between the two countries and anti-Japanese demonstrations in five Chinese cities. In 2012 tensions over the island spiked again, with military maneuvers and heated diplomatic exchanges.57 To the south, Beijing asserted that almost all of the strategically and economically important South China Sea58 belonged to China. In 2009 it began to place public emphasis on a map charting that assertion, which the Kuomintang had initially put forward in the 1940s. The cartographic depiction of China’s claim came to be known as the nine-dashed line, or “cow’s tongue,” because of its elongated U-shape. The extraordinarily expansive definition of its sovereign waters brought China into conflict with Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia because it encroached on their own claims of maritime sovereignty.59 In 2013 the Philippines filed a case with the World Court in The Hague disputing the lega validity of the nine-dashed line. On July 12, 2016, the Court issued its verdict in the Philippines’ favor. The Chinese government immediately announced that it would not accept or abide by the Court’s judgement.60 In addition, China began using dredging equipment to build artificial islands in the South China Sea, declared them to be Chinese territory, and started to build military facilities on them.61 Beijing asserted that the seas surrounding what they had built counted as Chinese territorial waters, with the privileges that come with that designation accruing to China.62 Other countries rejected this assertion on the grounds that, according to international law, such privileges go with natural but not manmade islands. The net effect of all this was to create at sea the kind of issue over whic wars are traditionally fought: territorial disputes. In another departure from widely accepted international law, in 2013 Beijing proclaimed the existence of a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone, through which aircraft from other countries needed Chinese permission to pass, that extended across the East China Sea to encompass the Senkakus and included what Japan had long claimed as its own air space. By the terms China announced, American aircraft, upon which Japan depended for its defense, could only operate there with China’s assent, a condition hardly acceptable to either the Japanese or the American government.63 A substantial expansion of Chinese naval and air forces made these aggressive policies possible. For much of its history the People’s Republic ha wars are traditionally fought: territorial disputes. In another departure from widely accepted international law, in 2013 Beijing proclaimed the existence of a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone, through which aircraft from other countries needed Chinese permission to pass, that extended across the East China Sea to encompass the Senkakus and included what Japan had long claimed as its own air space. By the terms China announced, American aircraft, upon which Japan depended for its defense, could only operate there with China’s assent, a condition hardly acceptable to either the Japanese or the American government.63 A substantial expansion of Chinese naval and air forces made these aggressive policies possible. For much of its history the People’s Republic had the latter part of the 1990s, moreover, the Chinese government increased the proportion of its budget devoted to the armed forces, with defense spending increasing, by one estimate, by 16 percent per year.66 To be sure, the Chinese had legitimate uses for a navy. Their economy relied on unfettered maritime access to the rest of the world: it depended heavily on transoceanic trade and on the 65 percent of its total oil consumption that came from beyond its borders, much of it shipped from the Persian Gulf. While the United States had, since the end of World War II, guaranteed the sea routes to and from East Asia, no country, especially no large country such as China, is likely to feel entirely comfortable relying on others for transactions vital to well-being. To the extent that its government distrusted the Americans, China had an incentive to provide for the security of its own maritime commerce. China’s decision to equip itself with the means to protect its own exports and imports was therefore at least understandable and did not, in and of itself, qualify as inherently aggressive. What did make Chinese policy aggressive in the eyes of other East Asian countries and the United States was its claim to maritime territory that, by custom, tradition, and international law, belonged to others. The specific features of China’s military buildup reinforced others’ image of the People’s Republic as a revisionist power whose ambitions threatened its neighbors. The weapons China acquired and the naval strategy it was apparently pursuing seemed to have as their principal goal negating America’s naval advantage in the East and South China Seas, in the Yellow Sea between the Chinese mainland and the Korean peninsula, and in the Taiwan Strait. To this end China invested in submarines to combat the American surface fleet and in missiles, both based on land and carried by aircraft, capable of crippling America’s aircraft carriers and striking American military bases in the region. China also began to acquire aircraft carriers of its own.67 The American military referred to the Chinese strategy that these weapons served by the acronym A2/AD, which stood for anti-access area denial. Its purpose, in the American view, was to prevent the American navy from operating in waters east of the China coast, where, as it happened, a number of America’s allies were located. China was seeking to exclude American naval forces from within the “first island chain,” a perimeter stretching from Japan in the north through Taiwan and the Philippines to the Indonesian island of Borneo in the south. The aim was to make these waters a kind of maritime “no-go” zone for the United States Navy, tilting the balance of power there in China’s favor. China referred to the program to contest the superior American military forces in the western Pacific by a term borrowed from its long military history and associated with thwarting a stronger power: “the assassin’s mace.”68 China sought, in short, to make itself the master of the seas over an area reaching as far into the Pacific as possible.69 Such a state of affairs would go a long way to fulfilling the deeply and widely held nationalist ambition to resume the regional prominence it regarded as rightfully belonging to China, which the century of humiliation had stripped away. Taiwan’s capacity to retain its independence would be severely weakened. China would dominate East Asia and other countries would acknowledge and adjust to Chinese hegemony just as they had for much of the previous two millennia. The United States would no longer have significant influence in the region, an outcome anticipated by Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader, in May, 2014, when he said that it was time “for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia, and uphold the security of Asia.”70 The communist regime’s territorial claims and military buildup, that is, were in keeping with, indeed in a sense followed logically from, the version of nationalism embedded in Chinese political culture.71 Its usefulness in realizing an enduring Chinese political aspiration partly explains why China’s peaceful rise turned, suddenly, into a forceful one. Three decades of rapid economic growth, underwriting first steady and then rapid expansion in its armed forces, gave China the military basis for moving to fulfill its long-held ambition of resuming its place at the top of the hierarchy of East Asian countries.72 In this sense China acted—and some Chinese no doubt saw their country as acting—like the small child who is bullied by other, older ones and who, upon growing up to be bigger and stronger than they, turns on them to repay their insults. On this account it was only a matter of time

China a threat to Taiwan and East Asia

Kerry Gershaneck, July 21, 2019, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2019/07/21/2003719030, Trump must stand firm on China

Over America’s exceptional history, successive generations have risen to the challenge of protecting and furthering our founding principles, and defeating existential threats to our libertie s and those of our allies. Today, our generation is challenged to do the same by a virulent and increasingly dangerous threat to human freedoms — the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the nation it misrules: the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese communists’ stated ambitions are antithetical to America’s strategic interests, and the PRC is increasingly taking actions that imperil the US and its allies. The past 40 years during which America pursued an open policy of “engagement” with the PRC have contributed materially to the incremental erosion of US national security. This cannot be permitted to continue. China is not as we wish it to be. In our political system, politics is the norm and war is the exception. It is explicitly the opposite in the PRC’s worldview. Going forward, we must better understand and deal with this dangerous asymmetry. We the undersigned are encouraged by the broad and coherent strategy of robust, alternative policies you have adopted to confront the PRC’s campaign to undermine the national interests of the US and its allies. We encourage you to stay the course on your path of countering communist China. We acknowledge and support your robust National Security Strategy that properly sets forth why the US must counter the PRC. Opposing the advance of tyranny is fully in keeping with the founding principles of America and its rich heritage of defending freedom and liberty, both at home and, where necessary, abroad. We note the PRC does not recognize the principles and rules of the existing international order, which under a Pax Americana has enabled the greatest period of peace and global prosperity in humankind’s history. The PRC rejects this order ideologically and in practice. China’s rulers openly proclaim and insist on a new set of rules to which other nations must conform, such as their efforts to dominate the East and South China seas and the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative,” with its debt-trap diplomacy, designed to extend such hegemony worldwide. The only persistently defining principle of the CCP is the sustainment and expansion of its power. Over the past 40 years of Sino-American relations, many American foreign policy experts did not accurately assess the PRC’s intentions or attributed the CCP’s reprehensible conduct to the difficulties of governing a country of 1.3 billion people. American policymakers were told time and again by these adherents of the China-engagement school that the PRC would become a “responsible stakeholder” once a sufficient level of economic modernization was achieved. This did not happen and cannot, so long as the CCP rules China. The PRC routinely and systematically suppresses religious freedom and free speech, including the imprisonment of more than 1 million citizens in Xinjiang and the growing suppression of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The PRC also routinely violates its obligations, as it does with the WTO, freedom of navigation and the protection of coral reefs in the South China Sea. Beijing then demands that its own people and the rest of the world accept its false narratives and justifications, demands aptly termed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

China preparing for an attack on Taiwan

Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2019, January, https://media.defense.gov/2019/May/02/2002127082/-1/-1/1/2019_CHINA_MILITARY_POWER_REPORT.pdf, Annual Report to Congress:

China’s overall strategy toward Taiwan continues to incorporate elements of both persuasion and coercion to hinder the development of political attitudes in Taiwan favoring independence. Taiwan lost three additional diplomatic partners in 2018, and some international fora continued to deny the participation of representatives from Taiwan. Although China advocates for peaceful unification with Taiwan, China has never renounced the use of military force, and continues to develop and deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a potential military campaign

Cooperation with China critical to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

Cooperation between the United States and China is also essential in meeting the challenge of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program. Both countries have devoted significant attention to the issue and agree on the objective of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but options are limited. The Trump administration has persuaded China to adopt increasingly tough trade and other sanctions on North Korea, but the sanctions have yet to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. A preemptive military strike on North Korea would engender retaliation and devastating human and economic losses in South Korea, along with the potential to draw both the United States and China into military conflict. Simply allowing North Korea to continue on its current path directly endangers the security of the United States. And China’s double freeze proposal—in which the United States and South Korea freeze their military exercises in exchange for North Korea freezing its development and testing program—failed to engage the relevant parties. Nonetheless, a combination of diplomacy and sanctions led by the United States and China remains the most viable path forward. Full enforcement of current sanctions by China is a first and necessary step. For its part, the United States should commit in earnest to a variant of China’s “freeze for freeze” proposal, agreeing to some “modest adjustment to conventional military exercises”9 while the parameters and sequencing of a potential agreement are determined. The United States and China could also take a page from their own history of diplomatic opening and use sports or culture to open the door to North Korea. There is no clear path forward, but setting the stage for more formal negotiations would be a first step. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 241). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Global problems require cooperation with China

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

Most U.S.‒China diplomatic engagement operates not at the level of grand bargains to address global challenges but at the more mundane level of technical cooperation around the big issues of global governance. The United States and China cooperate on a wide range of issues, including drug trafficking, cybercrimes and the dark web, counter-terrorism, and clean energy, among others. While these cooperative efforts do not often make headlines, they begin to build an institutional infrastructure for cooperation. And as one U.S. state department official mentioned to me, “when you take politics out of the equation, cooperation can be quite good.”
As China’s ambition and footprint expand, the need for technical cooperation will grow. Future areas could include developing rules of the road for limiting space debris or marine pollution in the Arctic, both of which are building blocks in a much larger area of potential conflict in global governance between the United States and China. Another issue of particular importance is coordinating standards for development finance. Working with Chinese development banks to ensure Chinese companies adopt best practices in the environment, regarding labor, and in transparency as they advance the BRI is essential to preserving the competitiveness of American companies. The United States could further its economic interests in this regard by joining the AIIB. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 241). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

China a threat to Taiwan and the South China Sea. The US must deter with arms sales to Taiwan

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

On the security front, China’s military expansionism in the South China Sea and claim to sovereignty over Taiwan pose a significant threat to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. With regard to both issues, the U.S. priority must be to deter further efforts by China to realize its sovereignty claims through unilateral actions. This means developing a robust coalition of partners that includes not only the other claimants in the South China Sea but also the larger European military powers, such as France and Britain. These countries have already been outspoken in their calls for China to adhere to the 2015 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that rejected Beijing’s expansive sovereignty claims. Along with the United States and Asian partners, these countries should form the basis of a more active military effort in the South China Sea to preserve freedom of navigation. In practice, this means consistent enforcement and equal treatment of all claimants through frequent and regular FONOPS. The Trump administration’s decision to undertake such scheduled FONOPS is an important step, but it should be pursued in conjunction with others to signal not just a U.S. or even regional commitment to international law but a global one. The United States should also support the decision of China and ASEAN to begin negotiations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea. However, the process of negotiation should not provide cover for Beijing to continue in the meantime to militarize the features it controls or otherwise expand its claims. If China resumes militarization of the features on which it has outposts, the United States should not try to dissuade other claimants from further developing military capabilities on the features they control. The United States should also reiterate its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, such as providing Taiwan with adequate arms for self-defense. President Trump’s early statements regarding the U.S. position on Taiwan—first threatening to revisit the One China policy, and later suggesting it could be a bargaining chip in a trade negotiation with Beijing—sowed confusion. Here, too, the United States should seek broader support among its Asian and European allies for upholding the basic principle of Taiwanese sovereignty and its freedom to develop without fear of Chinese coercion. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 243). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Cooperation with China critical to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

Cooperation between the United States and China is also essential in meeting the challenge of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program. Both countries have devoted significant attention to the issue and agree on the objective of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but options are limited. The Trump administration has persuaded China to adopt increasingly tough trade and other sanctions on North Korea, but the sanctions have yet to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. A preemptive military strike on North Korea would engender retaliation and devastating human and economic losses in South Korea, along with the potential to draw both the United States and China into military conflict. Simply allowing North Korea to continue on its current path directly endangers the security of the United States. And China’s double freeze proposal—in which the United States and South Korea freeze their military exercises in exchange for North Korea freezing its development and testing program—failed to engage the relevant parties. Nonetheless, a combination of diplomacy and sanctions led by the United States and China remains the most viable path forward. Full enforcement of current sanctions by China is a first and necessary step. For its part, the United States should commit in earnest to a variant of China’s “freeze for freeze” proposal, agreeing to some “modest adjustment to conventional military exercises”9 while the parameters and sequencing of a potential agreement are determined. The United States and China could also take a page from their own history of diplomatic opening and use sports or culture to open the door to North Korea. There is no clear path forward, but setting the stage for more formal negotiations would be a first step. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 241). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Global problems require cooperation with China

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

Most U.S.‒China diplomatic engagement operates not at the level of grand bargains to address global challenges but at the more mundane level of technical cooperation around the big issues of global governance. The United States and China cooperate on a wide range of issues, including drug trafficking, cybercrimes and the dark web, counter-terrorism, and clean energy, among others. While these cooperative efforts do not often make headlines, they begin to build an institutional infrastructure for cooperation. And as one U.S. state department official mentioned to me, “when you take politics out of the equation, cooperation can be quite good.”
As China’s ambition and footprint expand, the need for technical cooperation will grow. Future areas could include developing rules of the road for limiting space debris or marine pollution in the Arctic, both of which are building blocks in a much larger area of potential conflict in global governance between the United States and China. Another issue of particular importance is coordinating standards for development finance. Working with Chinese development banks to ensure Chinese companies adopt best practices in the environment, regarding labor, and in transparency as they advance the BRI is essential to preserving the competitiveness of American companies. The United States could further its economic interests in this regard by joining the AIIB. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 241). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

China a threat to Taiwan and the South China Sea. The US must deter with arms sales to Taiwan

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018, The Third Revolution:: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State,

On the security front, China’s military expansionism in the South China Sea and claim to sovereignty over Taiwan pose a significant threat to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. With regard to both issues, the U.S. priority must be to deter further efforts by China to realize its sovereignty claims through unilateral actions. This means developing a robust coalition of partners Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 242). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition that includes not only the other claimants in the South China Sea but also the larger European military powers, such as France and Britain. These countries have already been outspoken in their calls for China to adhere to the 2015 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that rejected Beijing’s expansive sovereignty claims. Along with the United States and Asian partners, these countries should form the basis of a more active military effort in the South China Sea to preserve freedom of navigation. In practice, this means consistent enforcement and equal treatment of all claimants through frequent and regular FONOPS. The Trump administration’s decision to undertake such scheduled FONOPS is an important step, but it should be pursued in conjunction with others to signal not just a U.S. or even regional commitment to international law but a global one. The United States should also support the decision of China and ASEAN to begin negotiations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea. However, the process of negotiation should not provide cover for Beijing to continue in the meantime to militarize the features it controls or otherwise expand its claims. If China resumes militarization of the features on which it has outposts, the United States should not try to dissuade other claimants from further developing military capabilities on the features they control. The United States should also reiterate its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, such as providing Taiwan with adequate arms for self-defense. President Trump’s early statements regarding the U.S. position on Taiwan—first threatening to revisit the One China policy, and later suggesting it could be a bargaining chip in a trade negotiation with Beijing—sowed confusion. Here, too, the United States should seek broader support among its Asian and European allies for upholding the basic principle of Taiwanese sovereignty and its freedom to develop without fear of Chinese coercion. Economy, Elizabeth C.. The Third Revolution (p. 243). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Taiwan-US ties improving

Ralph Jennings, July 17, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/usa/will-us-first-class-treatment-visiting-taiwan-president-rattle-china, Will US First Class Treatment of Visiting Taiwan President Rattle China?

TAIPEI – On a two-day visit to New York this month, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen vowed in a speech never to “succumb to any threats” from China. She mixed too with U.S. Congress members in America’s largest city. Reporters were allowed to cover some of her events. It is more open and welcoming than past U.S. trips by Taiwan presidents. Tsai, passing through New York on her way to visit former diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, will return to Taipei after spending another two days in the United States before July 22. In the past, Washington has held visits by Taiwanese presidents to shorter periods, smaller cities and lower-profile activities – sometimes just aircraft refueling. The idea was to offer transit stops, for comfort and convenience, but avoid upsetting China. China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory rather than a state entitled to foreign relations. Washington and Beijing recognize each other diplomatically. Tsai is getting to do more than usual this month because the U.S. government is upgrading relations with Taiwan and expressing exasperation with China, experts believe. “At this moment, I think both the Taiwan government and the U.S. government prefer to see this as kind of a one-step further enhancement of diplomatic relationships,” said Liu Yih-jiun, public affairs professor at Fo Guang University in Taiwan. Time, place and activity upgrades Taiwan presidents have been allowed stopovers in the United States since the 1990s. They are officially transit stops between Taipei and visits to diplomatic allies in the Americas and South Pacific. In 2006, Taiwan ex-president Chen Shui-bian stopped in the relatively remote city of Anchorage for a simple refueling – and he complained then of inconvenience. But Chen had ruffled the United States by provoking China at a time when U.S. officials hoped the two Asian governments would seek peace. Seven years later, Taiwan’s ex-president Ma Ying-jeou visited New York for 40 hours but avoided slamming China in any meetings there. Ma had set aside disputes with China to start landmark negotiations with the Communist government. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou during a news conference at the Presidential Office in Taipei, February 6, 2012. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou during a news conference at the Presidential Office in Taipei, February 6, 2012. Last August, in a move that upset China, Tsai became the first Taiwanese president since the 1970s to visit a U.S. federal property, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Shift in U.S.-China-Taiwan ties China has blamed Tsai for shunning more negotiations. Unlike Ma, she rejects Beijing’s dialogue conditions that both sides fall under one flag. U.S. policy toward stopovers has not changed over the years, said Aaron Huang, acting spokesman for the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei. But the Trump government has tightened Taiwan-U.S. ties by offering military aid for Taiwan as well as support for more high-level visits. Trump, unlike his predecessors, is battling Beijing over trade. He is resisting Chinese military expansion in the South China Sea at the same time, largely by sending Navy ships and enlisting help from third countries. The length of Tsai’s U.S. stays this month, the choice of New York as a venue and China’s past criticism of Tsai will stir China again, said Yun Sun, East Asia Program senior associate at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington. “I think from those perspectives, her visit will be interpreted as more provocative than otherwise it would have been,” Sun said. Between her U.S. stops, Tsai is scheduled to visit Haiti, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis. Beijing protested before Tsai started her journey. Washington next? Tsai hopes to grow closer with the United States, especially as China pressures her toward talks through military aircraft flybys and squelching Taiwanese foreign relations, political scientists in Taipei say. But with U.S. stopovers routine, Taiwanese voters hope their president can take her U.S. visits even further, said Ku Chung-hua, standing board member with the Taiwan advocacy group Citizens’ Congress Watch. Common Taiwanese often resent China’s pressure and hope the U.S. government can help in their defense. Tsai almost got the chance earlier in the year, when a group of U.S. senators asked, unsuccessfully, that she be able to address Congress. “If she went and spoke to the U.S. Congress, that would be a big breakthrough, but if she’s just passing through for a few nights, though there’s some relaxation compared to the past, it doesn’t change approval ratings that much,” Ku said.

Strong improvements in US-Taiwan Relations

Michael Mazza, Global Taiwan Institute, July 17, 2019, Advancements in US-Taiwan relations counter “bargaining chip” theory, http://www.aei.org/publication/advancements-in-us-taiwan-relations-counter-bargaining-chip-theory/

Any concerns that US-Taiwan relations would take a hit in the summit’s aftermath have thus far proven unfounded. Indeed, there was a glut of good news in the days immediately preceding and following the Osaka meetings. Just before the G20, it was reported that American pork exports to Taiwan “are surging in 2019.” Compared to the same period last year, pork exports through April 2019 grew by 80 percent in metric tons and by 55 percent in dollar value. The same report noted that in 2018, US beef exports to Taiwan exceeded $500 million for the first time, and “nearly doubled in volume and more than doubled in value over a period of just five years.” Taiwan’s restrictions on the import of American beef and especially pork have long been a thorn in the side of US-Taiwan trade relations. This new data supports the contention that such restrictions are not the salient hindrance to US exports and thus to deeper trade ties that they once were (as Dan Blumenthal and I argued in a paper earlier this year for the Project 2049 Institute). A bilateral free trade agreement has long been a top priority for the Tsai administration. President Tsai can wield this news to contrast Taiwan favorably with China, which has cut agricultural imports from the United States, and to make the case that a free trade agreement would further benefit American farmers. Visit-like Transits And now, President Tsai can make that case to Americans directly. On July 1, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that President Tsai would soon visit four diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, a trip to be punctuated by two “transit” stops in the United States. Each US visit would be a two-night stay, allowing plenty of time for engagement with government, business, and civil society leaders. (Typically, Taiwan’s presidents spend only one night in the United States on a “transit” stop.) Last week, President Tsai made her first transit, stopping in New York City on her way to Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and St. Christopher and Nevis. While in New York, she hosted a reception for the United Nations representatives of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, met with business leaders, strolled through Central Park with young expats from Taiwan, delivered an address at Columbia University, and spoke by phone with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Washington’s accommodation of Tsai’s travels is as good a sign as any that the US-Taiwan relationship remains on firm footing. Beijing always raises stern objections to presidential transits of the United States as such transits are seen as conferring legitimacy on the so-called “Taiwan authorities.” That the Trump administration is welcoming and indeed facilitating two (relatively) extended stays over the course of eleven days suggests that the administration does not see its relationship with Taiwan as leverage to put to use vis-à-vis Beijing. Arms Sales Need more evidence? Just last week, following approval from the Department of State, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of two impending arms sales to Taiwan. The sales are substantial. The first package is to include 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and associated equipment, support, and training for a cost of approximately $2 billion. The second package is a $224 million sale of Stinger missiles and related equipment and support. These arms will better enable Taiwan to defend its airspace, counter an invasion, and thus deter Chinese aggression. On cue, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang claimed the sale “flagrantly interferes in China’s domestic affairs and harms China’s sovereignty and security interests,” and called on the United States to “cancel this arms sale immediately and stop military ties with Taiwan to prevent further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” China signaled its displeasure at the potential sale prior to the notification as well. It is even possible that Xi raised it directly with President Trump during their meeting in Japan. However Chinese objections were raised, those objections were not persuasive to leaders in Washington. In short, the US-Taiwan relationship does not appear to be for sale. Of course, even given positive developments over the last two years, there is no guarantee of future progress in the relationship, especially as Beijing continues to pressure the Trump administration to distance itself from Taipei and with President Trump’s personal commitment to the relationship remaining a question mark. What’s more, aside from ongoing negotiations over the sale of F-16s, it is unclear what comes next for Washington and Taipei, with the presidential transits and finalization of the recently notified arms sales soon to be in the rearview mirror.

Taiwan arms sales are a blow to China-US relations

Li Zhenguang, professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University, July 11, 2019, Arms Sales to Taiwan a Blow to Sino-US ties, https://www.chinadailyhk.com/articles/176/137/161/1562819872440.html,

By approving the potential sale of arms worth US$2.2 billion to Taiwan, the US State Department has not only further strained cross-Straits relations, it is also trying Beijing’s patience. And by passing a series of acts and resolutions related to Taiwan this year, the US Congress has dealt a serious blow to Sino-US relations, as well as undermined peace and stability across the Straits. The US House of Representatives enacted the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019 and passed a resolution reaffirming the US’ commitment to Taiwan on May 7, which essentially means the US would sell arms to the island regularly and back its participation in international organizations. That the US has continued to meddle in Taiwan affairs shows it is desperate to use the “Taiwan card” to contain the Chinese mainland. But at the instigation of the US administration, thanks to its acts and resolutions and promise of support, the DPP could try to further push forward its “pro-independence” agenda and cross the red line and worsen the situation across the Straits. Therefore, the US should review its policy and stop selling dreams to the Taiwan authorities The US believes that by consolidating its relationship with Taiwan authorities through acts and resolutions, it can further integrate the island into its “Indo-Pacific” strategy to contain the mainland, the biggest rival in Washington’s eyes thanks, in part, to the trade disputes between them. Yet the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, which favors an independent entity for the island, is willing to act as the cat’s paw for the US in exchange for security protection and political cover. Which is nothing but wishful thinking on the part of Taiwan authorities, because there is little chance of Washington getting involved in a war across the Straits if the DPP indeed tries to split the country. Following the DPP’s ideology of making Taiwan an independent entity, the island leader Tsai Ing-wen and other DPP officials have intensified their pro-independence activities, especially in the fields of education, culture and administration, since she took office in 2016. In fact, Lai Ching-te, Tsai’s rival in the island’s next leadership election in January 2020, openly pitched himself as a worker for “Taiwan independence” before stepping down as the head of the executive body. To send a clear message against secessionism to the Tsai administration and give a strong warning to separatist forces on the island, the mainland has held military exercises in the Taiwan Straits and sent warplanes and warships around the island. But at the instigation of the US administration, thanks to its acts and resolutions and promise of support, the DPP could try to further push forward its “pro-independence” agenda and cross the red line and worsen the situation across the Straits. Therefore, the US should review its policy and stop selling dreams to the Taiwan authorities. The Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019 is a serious violation of the one China principle and the three joint communiqués, which the Sino-US relationship is built on. The US’ interference in China’s internal affairs will not only endanger one of the world’s most important bilateral ties and jeopardize peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but also increase the possibility of the mainland using whatever means necessary to realize the final reunification of the island with the motherland. The US has frequently meddled in Taiwan affairs, which has significantly undermined Sino-US ties, creating worries and risks across the Straits. But since China is committed to safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and achieving national reunification, the US should not hope to succeed in its design of splitting the country by leading the island authorities down the garden path.

Tsai’s approval rating increasing

Nakazawa, July 18, 2019, Katsuji Nakazawa is a Tokyo-based senior staff writer and editorial writer at Nikkei. He has spent seven years in China as a correspondent and later as China bureau chief. He is the 2014 recipient of the Vaughn-Ueda International Journalist prize for international reporting., https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/China-up-close/Taiwan-s-Tsai-shoots-down-Xi-s-unification-road-map, Taiwan’s Tsai shoots down Xi’s unification road map

Encouraged by the pro-Beijing KMT’s resounding victory in unified local elections in November, Xi warned the U.S. against interfering in Taiwan matters. He said China would not “renounce the use of force” against external intervention and forces pushing for Taiwan independence. Tsai responded immediately, reiterating her rejection of Taiwan unifying with mainland China under a “one country, two systems” formula. Her unequivocal stance helped right what was by all accounts a sinking ship. Tsai had been forced to resign as chair of the DPP to take responsibility for the ruling party’s resounding defeat in the local elections. There had also been a growing consensus within the DPP that Tsai’s chances of being reelected as president in 2020 were fading so badly that the party should consider fielding a stronger candidate. After her response to Xi’s New Year’s speech, Tsai’s approval rating began to turn up.

Anti-China attitudes in Hong Kong have boosted Tsai in Taiwan

Mary Hui, July 17, 2019, https://qz.com/1668014/hong-kong-and-taiwan-find-solidarity-against-china/, Hong Kong and Taiwan are fueling each other’s resistance to China

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and has long presented the “one country, two systems” model by which Hong Kong is governed as an incentive for unification. Growing concern among Taiwanese that Beijing’s tightening grip over Hong Kong is eroding the city’s autonomy as promised has boosted Tsai’s political position, while even the Beijing-friendly opposition has had to acknowledge the widespread anger in Hong Kong at the extradition bill, and at Chinese influence more broadly.

Arms sales to Taiwan critical to deter China

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, July 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520, Trump’s Taiwan Progress, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520

Deterring Chinese military dominance in the Indo-Pacific is a top U.S. strategic goal, and the Trump Administration made progress this week with a tentative $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan. The next sale should be F-16V fighter jets, which is the island’s most pressing defense need. The Pentagon on Monday notified Congress of the sale of 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles, and transport vehicles. Lawmakers have 30 days to object to the deal, but that’s unlikely given the near-unanimous backing of pro-Taiwan legislation in Congress in recent years. Acosta Resigns and Pelosi vs. Progressives SUBSCRIBE Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on the U.S. to “immediately cancel” the deal, and on Friday China said it will sanction U.S. companies that participate in the arms sale. That’s mostly symbolic since China doesn’t buy arms from the U.S. But what Beijing has never understood is its starring role in consolidating Washington’s cooperation with Taipei. Last month’s voyage of the Chinese Liaoning aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait is the type of saber-rattling that increases American support for the island’s democracy, as Taiwanese want little more than to preserve their freedom.

Tsai’s approval ratings increasing

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, July 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520, Trump’s Taiwan Progress, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520

Beijing’s latest power play in Hong Kong is turning even Taiwan’s pragmatic politics further against China. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s approval rating rose 10% this spring after rebuking Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” model, and she looks prescient after Beijing’s gambit last month to pass a bill in Hong Kong allowing extradition to Mainland China. Some two million city residents marched against it, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday declared “the bill is dead.”

Need fighter jet sales so the US isn’t perceived as weak

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, July 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520, Trump’s Taiwan Progress, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-taiwan-progress-11562971520

This shifting political mood gives Mr. Trump an opportunity to sell Taiwan some 60 fourth-generation F-16V fighters, which Taipei requested in February. The U.S. is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to help the island defend itself, and the need is dire. Taiwan’s fleet of fourth-generation fighters, which date to the George H.W. Bush Administration, are outnumbered more than four-to-one by Chinese counterparts. A fighter sale, which China has called a “red line,” has been moving through the federal bureaucracy. Selling F-16Vs would set off rhetorical fireworks in Beijing, and Mr. Trump might be reluctant given his focus on China trade. The same thinking may be why he hasn’t publicly supported Hong Kong’s protesters. But Hongkongers and Taiwanese know China takes Western silence or accommodation for weakness. Asia’s U.S. friends are counting on Mr. Trump not to defer to China as his presidential predecessors did.

China-US relations could collapse and the US and China could end up open confrontation

Scott Moore is the director of the Penn Global China Program at the University of Pennsylvania, July 17, 2019,: The Abyss Is Opening Under China-U.S. Relations, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/17/the-abyss-is-opening-under-china-u-s-relations/

A strange sort of calm has descended over the U.S.-China relationship. Officially, Washington and Beijing have agreed to a truce in their escalating trade war and are searching for the outlines of a possible agreement. But it’s looking increasingly likely that the cease-fire won’t hold—and a conflict far greater than the trade war itself looms. Last week, Beijing announced that it would sanction U.S. companies involved in selling arms to Taiwan. On Monday, meanwhile, the government statistics agency announced that China’s GDP growth in the first half of 2019 was the lowest since 1992.After two major rounds of tariff increases, pecuniary visa restrictions on both sides, and the ominous appearance of a noted warmongering phrase—“don’t say we didn’t warn you” (wuwei yanzhi buyu)—in the official Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, it might seem as if the floor can’t be too far below us. But the reality is that both sides could fall much, much further. Something close to economic and social decoupling is now a likely outcome, and the risk of open confrontation continues to rise. Policymakers in Washington, Beijing, and elsewhere need to take a deep breath and reconsider where they’re headed—and just as importantly, why. The first thing to understand is that the drift in U.S.-China relations isn’t about Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. Truth be told, while the United States and China now find themselves staring deeper into the abyss than at any time since the Korean War, relations have been on a downward slide at least since the 2008 financial crisis. In the decade after, China’s leaders made three fateful decisions. First, they dropped the veil on their ambitions to challenge U.S. military and political supremacy in Asia. China’s militarization of the South China Sea and investment in weapons like hypersonic missiles send a clear message that Beijing doesn’t believe the Asia-Pacific is big enough for two superpowers to share. Second, China’s leaders tightened the screws on domestic dissent, extinguishing the fond, if overly optimistic, hopes for progress toward political reform. Third, and most consequentially, Beijing made a U-turn on its commitment to market liberalization, capping decades of currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and hidden subsidies with crushing restrictions on market access for foreign firms.

Decrease in China-US relations undermines cooperation on climate change and pandemic disease prevention

 

Scott Moore is the director of the Penn Global China Program at the University of Pennsylvania, July 17, 2019,: The Abyss Is Opening Under China-U.S. Relations, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/17/the-abyss-is-opening-under-china-u-s-relations/

It looks as if both sides of the Pacific are resigned to a certain amount of economic and political decoupling.It looks as if both sides of the Pacific are resigned to a certain amount of economic and political decoupling. But the economic costs will be significant. American consumers will pay more for virtually everything that’s manufactured. U.S. companies will lose access to talent and ideas from their Chinese partners and workers—contrary to popular wisdom, intellectual property is in fact a two-way street. Just as significantly, the United States and China will lose both capability and motivation to deal with climate change, pandemic disease, and a host of other global challenges. To face this future, the two countries need to build a three-speed relationship. On some issues, like global economic stability, there’s no alternative to deep cooperation. On others, like defense and access to markets in Belt and Road countries, competition is the name of the game. But on other matters, Washington and Beijing need to build better capacity to coordinate. Emerging technologies are a good example: U.S. and Chinese interests on artificial intelligence and biotechnology diverge in most areas but are in near-perfect alignment on the need to prevent terrorists and rogue actors from developing autonomous weapons systems and treatment-resistant superviruses. Coordinating U.S. and Chinese regulation, law enforcement, and other actions will be just as critical to preventing 21st-century technocatastrophes as U.S.-Soviet diplomacy was to preventing nuclear war in the 20th. The U.S.-China relationship is in dangerous straits. But the floor still lies far below where the two are at present, and cooler heads must prevail to prevent the world from falling further into the depths.

China-US trade conflict will not continue

Reinsch, July 16, 2019, William Reinsch holds the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), U.S.-China Trade: If We Get to Yes, Will It Make Any Difference?, https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-china-trade-if-we-get-yes-will-it-make-any-difference

That deadline came and went amid a flurry of “good faith” and “making progress” statements from both sides, and there was continuing optimism that the two would reach agreement. The mood shifted in mid-May when the United States accused the Chinese of backing off commitments they had made, and President Donald Trump increased the third tranche of tariffs from 10 to 25 percent and threatened to impose new tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports. As of mid-May, it appears that the impasse may continue for some time, although an agreement remains the most likely ultimate outcome.

Avoiding a market economy key to CCP control

Reinsch, July 16, 2019, William Reinsch holds the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), U.S.-China Trade: If We Get to Yes, Will It Make Any Difference?, https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-china-trade-if-we-get-yes-will-it-make-any-difference

Missing from this will be unequivocal promises to turn away from a state-dominated economy—subsidies, support for state-owned enterprises and implementation of Made in China 2025 (the Chinese government’s guidebook for developing national champions in 14 critical technologies)—and move in the direction of a genuine market economy. While doing that would make sense, the Chinese Communist Party’s primary goal has always been maintaining control, and the past few years have made it abundantly clear that for Xi Jinping, that includes maintaining the government’s heavy hand in directing the economy.

China’s control of Taiwan means it creates a blockade of Japan and starve the island

Ward, 2019, DR. JONATHAN D. T. WARD has been studying the rise of China for more than a decade. From travels with truck caravans in Tibet and across the South China Sea by cargo ship in his early twenties, to accessing Communist Party archives that have now been closed to the world while a PhD candidate at Oxford, to consulting for the U.S. Department of Defense and Fortune 500 organizations, Dr. Ward has brought the experience of a traveler, the discipline of a scholar, and the insight of a strategy consultant to one of the toughest, biggest challenges of our time: what does China want, how will it try to get it, and what should America do? Dr. Ward is the Founder of Atlas Organization, a Washington DC and New York based consultancy focused on the rise of India and China, and US-China global competition. He speaks Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic, China’s Vision of Victory, Kindle edition, page number at the end of the card

Consider the following description of military control of Taiwan— another of the vital places in China’s island chain strategy. Just as control of the South China Sea would improve China’s ability to seize Taiwan by force, control of Taiwan could carry forward to the blockade and devastation of Japan. A Chinese-language publication from China’s Air Command College explains: As soon as Taiwan is reunified with Mainland China, Japan’s maritime lines of communication will fall completely within the striking ranges of China’s fighters and bombers … Our analysis shows that, by using blockades, if we can reduce Japan’s raw imports by 15–20%, it will be a heavy blow to Japan’s economy. After imports have been reduced by 30%, Japan’s economic activity and war-making potential will be basically destroyed. After imports have been reduced by 50%, national economy and war-making potential will collapse entirely … blockades can cause sea shipments to decrease and can even create famine within the Japanese islands.32 China’s aspirations within the first two-island chains, the “blue economic corridors,” and the Indian Ocean Region lead to a kind of closed system in which the Party and its military could exert military dominance indefinitely after China’s “Great Rejuvenation.” Fielding a military that is “second to none” throughout the Indo-Pacific, achieving sea control or sea denial in the  island chains, and exerting a massive military presence throughout the “Belt and Road” system is the likely shape of China’s aspirations to 2049. However, another crucial dimension to modern military power takes place not on land, air, or sea, but in new domains: space and cyber. The Chinese military understands the needs to master space and cyber better than almost any other nation. Ward, Jonathan D. T.. China’s Vision of Victory . The Atlas Publishing and Media Company. Kindle Edition.

Unified political opposition to China

Pollack & Bader, July 2019, Jonathan D. Pollack is a nonresident senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. Between 2012 and 2014, he served as director of the John L. Thornton China Center. Jeffrey A. Bader is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 until 2011, Bader was special assistant to the president of the United States for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the National Security Council, LOOKING BEFORE WE LEAP: WEIGHING THE RISKS OF US-CHINA DISENGAGEMENT, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FP_20190716_us_china_pollack_bader.pdf

The political right and left in the United States have both long hewed to antagonistic views of China, though for very different reasons. The far more pronounced shifts in thinking now emanate from intellectual constituencies and commercial interests in the center of U.S. policy debate. By default or by design, centrist opinion now aligns with sentiments in the Trump administration and on the right and left of the political divide, with all arguing that China’s policy goals and strategic intentions are increasingly malign.

Unified political opposition to China

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

But it also helps explain why so many influential voices in America now argue for a “decoupling” of the two economies. This negative view of China unites politicians from both left and right who agree on nothing else. Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box. So, while many attribute this shift to the Trump administration, I do not.. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed— by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to America, but as a country whose rise has come at our expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the U.S.-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure. In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic, and even opponent of past U.S. policies toward China.

Split with China will isolate the US from its allies

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

But here’s the problem for those in the United States who advocate a U.S.-China “divorce”—decoupling is easier when you’re actually a couple. The United States can try to divorce; but what if others, especially in Asia, don’t want to follow suit? As a function of geography, economic gravity and strategic reality, I do not believe that any country in Asia can afford to divorce China, even if it wishes to. So in its effort to isolate China, America risks isolating itself.

Even centrists support a hard line on China

 

Pollack & Bader, July 2019, Jonathan D. Pollack is a nonresident senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. Between 2012 and 2014, he served as director of the John L. Thornton China Center. Jeffrey A. Bader is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 until 2011, Bader was special assistant to the president of the United States for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the National Security Council, LOOKING BEFORE WE LEAP: WEIGHING THE RISKS OF US-CHINA DISENGAGEMENT, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FP_20190716_us_china_pollack_bader.pdf

Animosity toward China is not a new phenomenon in U.S. politics. Security hawks, human rights advocates, and political opponents of free trade are all in common cause, each for their own reasons. The more significant changes in thinking have occurred among centrists in the China policy debate. Business and intellectual constituencies that long supported closer ties have gone largely silent or have altered course. By default, if not by design, centrists are increasingly aligned with the political and bureaucratic forces that demand, at a minimum, far greater pushback against Chinese actions or even outright disengagement…. Both ends of the political spectrum are thus joined in a shared alienation from China, though for different reasons. Those on the left see an illiberal China intent on exploiting its increased wealth and power to challenge the liberal international order, repress ethnic and religious groups and dissidents at home, and hollow out U.S. manufacturing through production by lower-priced labor. The political right has an even more malevolent view, some with ugly racial overtones. Those on the hard right believe China not only is intent on dominating the western Pacific and expelling the U.S. military from the region, but ultimately on world domination…. Both left and right have also seized on China’s “influence campaign” in the United States. Critics suggest that America is vulnerable to subversion by Confucius Institutes teaching Chinese language and culture on campuses, seduced by Chinese money funding academic and research institutions, oblivious to Chinese spies disguised as students, and even lulled by special advertising supplements in American newspapers

Economic deterrence collapsing, relations could completely collapse

 

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

That brings us to the risks. Sadly, I think the risks of a new age of disruption are considerable. For 40 years, the U.S.-China relationship has been characterized by the integration of goods, capital, technology and people. And over these years, economic integration between the two countries was supposed to mitigate security competition. But an intellectually honest appraisal must now admit that the reverse is taking place. And economic tensions are reaching a breaking point. After 40 years of integration, a surprising number of political and thought leaders on both sides advocate policies that could forcibly de-integrate the two countries across all four of these baskets. The integration of trade in goods could come undone— as supply chains are broken, especially for sensitive technology. Integration through cross-border capital flows will come under greater pressure as restrictions on Chinese investment take hold across big sectors in the United States. Indeed, if this trend continues, integration of global innovation ecosystems may well collapse as a result of mutual efforts by the United States and China to exclude one another. Meanwhile, the integration of people, especially the brightest young students, could stall—as Washington potentially bans Chinese students from studying whole categories of science and engineering subjects. If all this persists, I fear that big parts of the global economy will be closed off to the free flow of investment and trade. And that is why I now see the prospect of an economic “Iron Curtain”—one that throws up new walls on each side and unmakes the global economy as we have known it.

Arms sales critical to deter China and boost US credibility

Japan Times, July 11, 2019, Taiwan arms sales U.S. arms sales to Taiwan make strategic sense

JUL 11, 2019 Taiwan arms sales U.S. arms sales to Taiwan make strategic sense

|The United States has agreed to sell $2 billion in weapons to Taiwan, a move that’s consistent with U.S. obligations to the island and yet will still complicate ties with China. While the decision will boost Taiwan’s defense, it’s also an important statement of U.S. commitment at a time when powerful countervailing winds are blowing. The U.S. should remain resolute in its defense of Taiwan, a signal to China and the region that it remains a force for peace and order in Asia. The U.S. is proposing the sale of $2.2 billion in weapons, among them 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles and related equipment and support such as Hercules armored vehicles and heavy equipment transporters. The State Department says the weapons will help Taiwan “meet current and future regional threats” and enhance its ability to operate with the U.S. and other partners. While the U.S. agreed to sell $500 million in F-16 parts and training earlier this year, this is the first large-scale weapons sale to Taiwan since 2011. Although the U.S. is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to help ensure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself, Washington’s final decision when selling weapons is based as much on political considerations as defense needs. It weighs not only Taiwan’s defense capabilities and the cross-strait military balance of power, but the political context in which those sales occur. China protests every sale. Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province that must be reunited with the mainland. Anything that allows Taipei to deflect Beijing’s pressure for reunification is considered interference in Chinese domestic affairs. True to form, China lodged a formal protest, expressing “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” and calling it “crude interference” in Chinese internal affairs that harmed “China’s sovereignty and security interests.” The U.S. should “immediately cancel the planned arms sale and stop military relations with Taipei to avoid damaging Sino-U.S. relations and harming peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” More influential on U.S. thinking was the risk that the deal would derail efforts to forge a trade agreement with China and/or undermine U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to enlist Chinese President Xi Jinping in his project to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons program. It is to the Trump administration’s credit that it has not linked these issues and continues to treat Taiwan as a U.S. interest rather than a pawn in its relationship with China. If this decision helps “normalize” the arms sales process, that is even better. Nonetheless, the U.S. must prepare for blowback. Xi has shown increasing impatience with the pace of reunification with Taiwan, long a Chinese “core interest,” and his language has become increasingly bellicose. Chinese anger may increase as Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, departed Thursday for a 12-day tour of Caribbean countries in an attempt to shore up dwindling international support for her government. She is scheduled to make transit stops in the U.S. on each leg of her trip and there is speculation that Tsai will meet U.S. government officials in New York, her likely first stop. (If that stop takes two days, as anticipated, then Chinese ire will increase.) Taiwan’s foreign ministry applauded the decision, saying that the arms sale “will help greatly to increase our defensive capabilities.” Some critics counter that the Abrams tanks are too heavy for Taiwan’s roads and bridges, and this continues Taipei’s habit of including items on its wish list for symbolism rather than their contribution to the island’s defense. Taiwan, they insist, needs to increase its defense spending to 3 percent of GDP if U.S. sales are to be meaningful. In truth, no amount of arms sales will change the military balance across the Taiwan Strait. Even with U.S. help, Taiwan will remain massively outnumbered and outgunned by China. Moreover, while the military threat is formidable, the real challenge is from the campaign that Beijing is waging to influence Taiwan’s politics. That effort ranges from economic coercion to spreading propaganda and attempting to manipulate social media.

Unified political opposition to China

 

Pollack & Bader, July 2019, Jonathan D. Pollack is a nonresident senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. Between 2012 and 2014, he served as director of the John L. Thornton China Center. Jeffrey A. Bader is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 until 2011, Bader was special assistant to the president of the United States for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the National Security Council, LOOKING BEFORE WE LEAP: WEIGHING THE RISKS OF US-CHINA DISENGAGEMENT, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FP_20190716_us_china_pollack_bader.pdf

The political right and left in the United States have both long hewed to antagonistic views of China, though for very different reasons. The far more pronounced shifts in thinking now emanate from intellectual constituencies and commercial interests in the center of U.S. policy debate. By default or by design, centrist opinion now aligns with sentiments in the Trump administration and on the right and left of the political divide, with all arguing that China’s policy goals and strategic intentions are increasingly malign.

Unified political opposition to China

 

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

But it also helps explain why so many influential voices in America now argue for a “decoupling” of the two economies. This negative view of China unites politicians from both left and right who agree on nothing else. Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box. So, while many attribute this shift to the Trump administration, I do not.. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed— by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to America, but as a country whose rise has come at our expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the U.S.-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure. In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic, and even opponent of past U.S. policies toward China.

Split with China will isolate the US from its allies

 

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

But here’s the problem for those in the United States who advocate a U.S.-China “divorce”—decoupling is easier when you’re actually a couple. The United States can try to divorce; but what if others, especially in Asia, don’t want to follow suit? As a function of geography, economic gravity and strategic reality, I do not believe that any country in Asia can afford to divorce China, even if it wishes to. So in its effort to isolate China, America risks isolating itself.

Even centrists support a hard line on China

 

Pollack & Bader, July 2019, Jonathan D. Pollack is a nonresident senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. Between 2012 and 2014, he served as director of the John L. Thornton China Center. Jeffrey A. Bader is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 until 2011, Bader was special assistant to the president of the United States for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the National Security Council, LOOKING BEFORE WE LEAP: WEIGHING THE RISKS OF US-CHINA DISENGAGEMENT, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FP_20190716_us_china_pollack_bader.pdf

Animosity toward China is not a new phenomenon in U.S. politics. Security hawks, human rights advocates, and political opponents of free trade are all in common cause, each for their own reasons. The more significant changes in thinking have occurred among centrists in the China policy debate. Business and intellectual constituencies that long supported closer ties have gone largely silent or have altered course. By default, if not by design, centrists are increasingly aligned with the political and bureaucratic forces that demand, at a minimum, far greater pushback against Chinese actions or even outright disengagement…. Both ends of the political spectrum are thus joined in a shared alienation from China, though for different reasons. Those on the left see an illiberal China intent on exploiting its increased wealth and power to challenge the liberal international order, repress ethnic and religious groups and dissidents at home, and hollow out U.S. manufacturing through production by lower-priced labor. The political right has an even more malevolent view, some with ugly racial overtones. Those on the hard right believe China not only is intent on dominating the western Pacific and expelling the U.S. military from the region, but ultimately on world domination…. Both left and right have also seized on China’s “influence campaign” in the United States. Critics suggest that America is vulnerable to subversion by Confucius Institutes teaching Chinese language and culture on campuses, seduced by Chinese money funding academic and research institutions, oblivious to Chinese spies disguised as students, and even lulled by special advertising supplements in American newspapers

Economic deterrence collapsing, relations could completely collapse

 

Paulson, July 2019, Henry M. Paulson Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. Prior to that, he had a 32-year career at Goldman Sachs, much of it dealing with China. From 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the investment firm. Today he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investments in the United States and China, The United States and China at a Crossroads, https://www.afsa.org/united-states-and-china-crossroads

That brings us to the risks. Sadly, I think the risks of a new age of disruption are considerable. For 40 years, the U.S.-China relationship has been characterized by the integration of goods, capital, technology and people. And over these years, economic integration between the two countries was supposed to mitigate security competition. But an intellectually honest appraisal must now admit that the reverse is taking place. And economic tensions are reaching a breaking point. After 40 years of integration, a surprising number of political and thought leaders on both sides advocate policies that could forcibly de-integrate the two countries across all four of these baskets. The integration of trade in goods could come undone— as supply chains are broken, especially for sensitive technology. Integration through cross-border capital flows will come under greater pressure as restrictions on Chinese investment take hold across big sectors in the United States. Indeed, if this trend continues, integration of global innovation ecosystems may well collapse as a result of mutual efforts by the United States and China to exclude one another. Meanwhile, the integration of people, especially the brightest young students, could stall—as Washington potentially bans Chinese students from studying whole categories of science and engineering subjects. If all this persists, I fear that big parts of the global economy will be closed off to the free flow of investment and trade. And that is why I now see the prospect of an economic “Iron Curtain”—one that throws up new walls on each side and unmakes the global economy as we have known it.

China-US relations could collapse and the US and China could end up open confrontation

Scott Moore is the director of the Penn Global China Program at the University of Pennsylvania, July 17, 2019,: The Abyss Is Opening Under China-U.S. Relations, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/17/the-abyss-is-opening-under-china-u-s-relations/

A strange sort of calm has descended over the U.S.-China relationship. Officially, Washington and Beijing have agreed to a truce in their escalating trade war and are searching for the outlines of a possible agreement. But it’s looking increasingly likely that the cease-fire won’t hold—and a conflict far greater than the trade war itself looms. Last week, Beijing announced that it would sanction U.S. companies involved in selling arms to Taiwan. On Monday, meanwhile, the government statistics agency announced that China’s GDP growth in the first half of 2019 was the lowest since 1992.After two major rounds of tariff increases, pecuniary visa restrictions on both sides, and the ominous appearance of a noted warmongering phrase—“don’t say we didn’t warn you” (wuwei yanzhi buyu)—in the official Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, it might seem as if the floor can’t be too far below us. But the reality is that both sides could fall much, much further. Something close to economic and social decoupling is now a likely outcome, and the risk of open confrontation continues to rise. Policymakers in Washington, Beijing, and elsewhere need to take a deep breath and reconsider where they’re headed—and just as importantly, why. The first thing to understand is that the drift in U.S.-China relations isn’t about Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. Truth be told, while the United States and China now find themselves staring deeper into the abyss than at any time since the Korean War, relations have been on a downward slide at least since the 2008 financial crisis. In the decade after, China’s leaders made three fateful decisions. First, they dropped the veil on their ambitions to challenge U.S. military and political supremacy in Asia. China’s militarization of the South China Sea and investment in weapons like hypersonic missiles send a clear message that Beijing doesn’t believe the Asia-Pacific is big enough for two superpowers to share. Second, China’s leaders tightened the screws on domestic dissent, extinguishing the fond, if overly optimistic, hopes for progress toward political reform. Third, and most consequentially, Beijing made a U-turn on its commitment to market liberalization, capping decades of currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and hidden subsidies with crushing restrictions on market access for foreign firms.

Decrease in China-US relations undermines cooperation on climate change and pandemic disease prevention

 

Scott Moore is the director of the Penn Global China Program at the University of Pennsylvania, July 17, 2019,: The Abyss Is Opening Under China-U.S. Relations, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/17/the-abyss-is-opening-under-china-u-s-relations/

It looks as if both sides of the Pacific are resigned to a certain amount of economic and political decoupling.It looks as if both sides of the Pacific are resigned to a certain amount of economic and political decoupling. But the economic costs will be significant. American consumers will pay more for virtually everything that’s manufactured. U.S. companies will lose access to talent and ideas from their Chinese partners and workers—contrary to popular wisdom, intellectual property is in fact a two-way street. Just as significantly, the United States and China will lose both capability and motivation to deal with climate change, pandemic disease, and a host of other global challenges. To face this future, the two countries need to build a three-speed relationship. On some issues, like global economic stability, there’s no alternative to deep cooperation. On others, like defense and access to markets in Belt and Road countries, competition is the name of the game. But on other matters, Washington and Beijing need to build better capacity to coordinate. Emerging technologies are a good example: U.S. and Chinese interests on artificial intelligence and biotechnology diverge in most areas but are in near-perfect alignment on the need to prevent terrorists and rogue actors from developing autonomous weapons systems and treatment-resistant superviruses. Coordinating U.S. and Chinese regulation, law enforcement, and other actions will be just as critical to preventing 21st-century technocatastrophes as U.S.-Soviet diplomacy was to preventing nuclear war in the 20th. The U.S.-China relationship is in dangerous straits. But the floor still lies far below where the two are at present, and cooler heads must prevail to prevent the world from falling further into the depths.

Arms sales critical to deter China and boost US credibility

Japan Times, JUL 11, 2019 Taiwan arms sales U.S. arms sales to Taiwan make strategic sense, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2019/07/11/editorials/u-s-arms-sales-taiwan-make-strategic-sense/#.XSh1i5MzbOQ

|The United States has agreed to sell $2 billion in weapons to Taiwan, a move that’s consistent with U.S. obligations to the island and yet will still complicate ties with China. While the decision will boost Taiwan’s defense, it’s also an important statement of U.S. commitment at a time when powerful countervailing winds are blowing. The U.S. should remain resolute in its defense of Taiwan, a signal to China and the region that it remains a force for peace and order in Asia. The U.S. is proposing the sale of $2.2 billion in weapons, among them 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles and related equipment and support such as Hercules armored vehicles and heavy equipment transporters. The State Department says the weapons will help Taiwan “meet current and future regional threats” and enhance its ability to operate with the U.S. and other partners. While the U.S. agreed to sell $500 million in F-16 parts and training earlier this year, this is the first large-scale weapons sale to Taiwan since 2011. Although the U.S. is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to help ensure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself, Washington’s final decision when selling weapons is based as much on political considerations as defense needs. It weighs not only Taiwan’s defense capabilities and the cross-strait military balance of power, but the political context in which those sales occur. China protests every sale. Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province that must be reunited with the mainland. Anything that allows Taipei to deflect Beijing’s pressure for reunification is considered interference in Chinese domestic affairs. True to form, China lodged a formal protest, expressing “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” and calling it “crude interference” in Chinese internal affairs that harmed “China’s sovereignty and security interests.” The U.S. should “immediately cancel the planned arms sale and stop military relations with Taipei to avoid damaging Sino-U.S. relations and harming peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” More influential on U.S. thinking was the risk that the deal would derail efforts to forge a trade agreement with China and/or undermine U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to enlist Chinese President Xi Jinping in his project to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons program. It is to the Trump administration’s credit that it has not linked these issues and continues to treat Taiwan as a U.S. interest rather than a pawn in its relationship with China. If this decision helps “normalize” the arms sales process, that is even better. Nonetheless, the U.S. must prepare for blowback. Xi has shown increasing impatience with the pace of reunification with Taiwan, long a Chinese “core interest,” and his language has become increasingly bellicose. Chinese anger may increase as Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, departed Thursday for a 12-day tour of Caribbean countries in an attempt to shore up dwindling international support for her government. She is scheduled to make transit stops in the U.S. on each leg of her trip and there is speculation that Tsai will meet U.S. government officials in New York, her likely first stop. (If that stop takes two days, as anticipated, then Chinese ire will increase.) Taiwan’s foreign ministry applauded the decision, saying that the arms sale “will help greatly to increase our defensive capabilities.” Some critics counter that the Abrams tanks are too heavy for Taiwan’s roads and bridges, and this continues Taipei’s habit of including items on its wish list for symbolism rather than their contribution to the island’s defense. Taiwan, they insist, needs to increase its defense spending to 3 percent of GDP if U.S. sales are to be meaningful. In truth, no amount of arms sales will change the military balance across the Taiwan Strait. Even with U.S. help, Taiwan will remain massively outnumbered and outgunned by China. Moreover, while the military threat is formidable, the real challenge is from the campaign that Beijing is waging to influence Taiwan’s politics. That effort ranges from economic coercion to spreading propaganda and attempting to manipulate social media.

Arms sales part of US war prep and increase the risk of conflict

Ben McGrath, July 10, 2019, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/07/10/taiw-j10.html, Washington approves large arms package to Taiwan

The Pentagon has announced that the US State Department approved an arms sale to Taiwan on Monday worth over $2.2 billion. The deal is broken up into two packages with additional sales likely to come. It is also one of the largest between Washington and Taipei and serves to deepen US preparations for war with China. The first part of the deal is worth an estimated $2 billion and includes 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, machine guns, and heavy transport vehicles. The second part includes 250 Block I-92 Stinger missiles valued at an estimated $223.56 million. Taiwan confirmed on June 6 that it had submitted a request for the weaponry. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry also stated at the time that it sought to purchase 1,240 TOW missiles and 409 Javelin anti-tank missiles, which would increase the value of the deal to $2.6 billion. Taiwanese presidential spokesman Chang Tun-han stated after the deal’s approval, “Taiwan will speed up investment on defence and continue to deepen security ties with the United States and countries with similar ideas.” The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has also notified Congress of the deal, with US lawmakers able to raise objections within 30 days. None is likely to do so, indicating the broad support in US ruling circles for the increased militarization of the Asia-Pacific region and preparation for war with China. In March, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stated that her government hoped to secure tanks and fighter jets from the US, without giving details. A Bloomberg article citing sources in the White House stated that advisors to Trump urged Taipei to submit a request for 66 F-16 fighter jets. Tsai said, “We will keep on strengthening our self-defence capabilities (and we) will also keep on being a contributor to regional peace.” The statements by Tsai make clear that Taiwan is lined up squarely behind the United States and is prepared to go to war against the Chinese mainland while painting Beijing as the aggressor. China’s Foreign Ministry pointed to this as it denounced the latest deal and called on Washington to “immediately cancel” it. Spokesman Geng Shuang stated the deal “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests.” The US is trying to offset its relative economic decline by encircling China militarily and attempting to force Beijing to accept a trade deal that subordinates it to US interests. Since Trump came to office, his administration has sharply increased pressure on Beijing, with White House sources telling the Wall Street Journal in June that Trump “sees the value in using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in his (trade) talks with China.” In criticizing the proposed sale as insufficient, the online military magazine made revealing comments about the actual US military plans for the island. The magazine stated the weaponry “would be fine if Taiwan were preparing for a ground war, but the real conflict if China invades will be at sea and in the air. Taiwan should focus on acquiring the most cost-effective methods of stopping a Chinese invading force before it lands.” In reality, the US is preparing not for a defensive war, but for an aggressive attack on the Chinese mainland, a short distance across the Taiwan Strait. Due to its strategic location, Taiwan would become a base of operations in any US war against China. In the 1950s, US General Douglas MacArthur referred to Taiwan as an unsinkable aircraft carrier—a key asset in any conflict with China. Washington has tried to conceal this fact. The US Defense Department’s DSCA claimed that this latest weapons sale will not alter the military balance in the region. Even if that were true, the sale is part of a broader military buildup among US allies in the region. This latest deal with Taiwan is the fourth significant military agreement under the Donald Trump administration. In June 2017, Washington sold Taiwan $1.42 billion worth of missiles and torpedoes. In September 2018, it sold $330 million worth of spare parts for fighter jets, and a deal involving pilot training was completed in April of this year for $500 million. During a visit to Japan in May, Trump confirmed plans to sell 105 F-35 stealth fighter jets to Tokyo. Washington also intends to sell 70 F-35s to Australia and 40 to South Korea. Zhou Chenming, a Beijing analyst, stated at the time, “This is bound to upset the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region, given the large quantity of warplanes ordered by Japan.” These increased sales have been part of Trump’s agenda since coming to office, but they were codified in the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which Trump signed into law at the end of last year. It calls for increased transfers of military weaponry to Taiwan and other countries and high-level official visits between Washington and Taipei. The Taiwan Travel Act, also signed last year, similarly ratified high-level contact between the two. As a result, Beijing is growing increasingly concerned that Washington is in effect violating its adherence to the One China policy, which states that Taiwan is a part of China. In the latest example, the US Defense Department provocatively referred to Taiwan as a “country” in its June 1 “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report.” Since the “1992 Consensus” Beijing and Taipei have agreed to the One China policy, though accept differing interpretations on which is the legitimate ruler of China. The Trump administration’s stoking of tensions with Beijing is the intensification of the previous Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.” Washington has enflamed tensions over long-simmering territorial disputes in the South and East China Sea and goaded Beijing by sending warships through the region, including increasingly sending warships through the Taiwan Strait. Beijing has repeatedly stated that it will use military force if Taiwan ever declares independence or if other military red lines are crossed, such as if a US warship were to dock at a Taiwanese port. These reckless US moves run the risk of a catastrophic war breaking out in the Asia-Pacific, one that would involve two nuclear-armed powers.

US arms sales increase tensions between China and Taiwan. Risk of conflict at historic highs, and China will increase aggression I what is referred to as the “grey area” of conflict.

Alex Ward, July 9, 2019, VOX, The Trump administration authorized arms sales to Taiwan. China isn’t pleased, https://www.vox.com/2019/7/9/20686016/taiwan-arms-sales-missile-tank

The US has approved a potential multibillion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan — the latest signal that the Trump administration is fed up with China’s aggressive foreign policy. On Monday, the State Department announced that the US could sell $2.2 billion in weapons, including 108 Abrams tanks and around 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, to the small island nation and staunch US ally. That paves the way for America to officially deliver those weapons at some point down the line. But the authorization on its own has added to longstanding tensions between Taiwan and China. They are still considered one country by both governments and by much of the world. But in practice, they have been totally separate since 1949, when China’s Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) leaders fled to the island of Taiwan and started a government there. Since then, relations between China and Taiwan have been very poor, with periods of low-level conflict and even moments when it looked like there would be a full-blown war. The US doesn’t officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation — it only recognizes China — but this big-ticket arms sale proposal highlights how Washington has long treated Taiwan as a separate, independent country in everything but name. Which means the decision could increase the China-Taiwan animosity. The Chinese government has already requested that the US cancel the authorization, while Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen — who noted in March that her country requested the weapons — tweeted her appreciation for the Trump administration’s decision. The timing also doesn’t help. The US and China are locked in tense trade negotiations to end a year-long tariff war, and both nations have ramped up patrols in Asian waters, increasing the risk of a maritime confrontation. If there was ever a moment to keep relations calm, some experts say it’s now…. But what China could do in response, she noted, is conduct lower-level provocations like holding war games near the island, harass US ships in nearby waters, arrest Taiwanese or US citizens on spying charges, and much, much more. “The retaliation will be carefully calibrated,” she continued, adding that China could respond more forcefully when there’s less attention focused on it. Which means US-China problems may be relatively subdued now, but they could become a whole lot worse in the months to come.

China is a threat to Taiwan

Alex Ward, July 9, 2019, VOX, The Trump administration authorized arms sales to Taiwan. China isn’t pleased, https://www.vox.com/2019/7/9/20686016/taiwan-arms-sales-missile-tank

On top of that, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed to give Beijing much more control over the citizenry, including crackdowns on democracy in Hong Kong and forcing more than a million Uighur Muslims into reeducation camps. Those actions, in part, have led to increasing fears that he may want to seize Taiwan. “The only thing that will make him the greatest leader in the Chinese Communist Party’s history is to take Taiwan back,” Shen Dingli, an international relations scholar at Fudan University in China, told Quartz in 2018.

China deterred from attacking Taiwan

Tom Rogan, July 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/china-just-threatened-the-us-over-taiwan, China just threatened the US over Taiwan

It’s a common misconception that naval invasions are now simple because we’re in the 21st century or something. China knows that crossing the more than 80-mile Taiwan Strait will likely entail taking major casualties from Taiwanese missile, artillery, naval, and air forces (especially if U.S. Navy submarines come into play). n turn, Chinese planners expect that the earliest landing forces that do reach Taiwanese soil will have to fight without effective air-ground support. This is where Taiwan knows it can win: by using highly mobile forces to isolate and annihilate pockets of landing troops. While China would use its mainland missile forces to wreak havoc on fixed Taiwanese positions such as air bases and depots, it would struggle to target mobile Taiwanese forces. That’s where these new tanks and stingers come in. And if the Chinese advance force can’t get off the beaches, well, China has a big problem.

Sale of tanks necessary to deter China

Al Jazeera, July 9, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/china-demands-cancel-proposed-22bn-arms-sale-taiwan-190709091716397.html, , China demands US cancel proposed $2.2bn arms sale to Taiwan

Taiwan would be massively outnumbered in terms of troops and firepower in any conflict with China, and has sought to upgrade much of its increasingly obsolete military equipment, especially in its air force. “Taiwan stands in the frontline of China’s ambitious expansion and faces enormous threats and pressure from Beijing,” the Taiwanese foreign ministry said in a statement. “This arms sale of M1A2 tanks and various missiles will help greatly to increase our defensive capabilities.” Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles – which are portable and can be quickly moved by soldiers in the field – would significantly increase Taiwan’s ability to counter Chinese armour and fighter jets in the event of an invasion. “The M1A2 tanks are very reliable and will become an essential part of our ground defence” because of their manoeuvrability, Lieutenant General Yang Hai-ming, of the Taiwanese army, told reporters. “Having the M1A2 to replace our older tanks will quickly and effectively boost our defence capability.” The M1 Abrams would mark a significant upgrade from the aging tanks Taiwan’s army now uses, while the TOW and Javelin systems would upgrade Taiwan’s ability to repulse an attempt by China to land tanks and troops from across the 100 mile-wide Taiwan Strait.

Stinger missile sales boost deterrence

CBS News, July 9, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/taiwan-china-tension-us-trump-admin-proposes-arms-sale-abrams-tanks-stinger-missiles-taipei-2019-07-09/

The Stingers meanwhile could help boost Taiwan’s defenses against China’s more than 1,000 advanced fighter aircraft and 1,500 missiles pointing at the island.

US support emboldens Taiwan, increasing the risk of a US-China war

Allison, July 7, 2019, Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the former director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Could the United States and China be Rivalry Partners?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/could-united-states-and-china-be-rivalry-partners-65661

In Thucydidean rivalries, the most frequent trigger for war is an extraneous event—a third party provocation or even accident like the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo. Both nations thus have a vital national interest in working together to prevent and manage crises that could drag them into general war. Their current cooperation in stopping North Korea’s nuclear advance illustrates how this can be done. But the Trump administration’s recklessness in emboldening Taiwan to take steps toward greater independence from China, and the current Chinese government’s demands to solve the Taiwan problem sooner rather than later, offer instructive examples of how risks can be increased.

US support emboldens Taiwan, increasing the risk of a US-China war

Allison, July 7, 2019, Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the former director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Could the United States and China be Rivalry Partners?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/could-united-states-and-china-be-rivalry-partners-65661

In Thucydidean rivalries, the most frequent trigger for war is an extraneous event—a third party provocation or even accident like the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo. Both nations thus have a vital national interest in working together to prevent and manage crises that could drag them into general war. Their current cooperation in stopping North Korea’s nuclear advance illustrates how this can be done. But the Trump administration’s recklessness in emboldening Taiwan to take steps toward greater independence from China, and the current Chinese government’s demands to solve the Taiwan problem sooner rather than later, offer instructive examples of how risks can be increased.

US tactical nuclear weapons development makes escalation with China more likely

Lyle Goldstein, July 9, 2019, Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. Keeping the Cold War with China from Turning Hot, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/keeping-cold-war-china-turning-hot-65651

It is reported that the United States has already begun producing the new W-76-2 low-yield warhead and that it could reach initial operating capability with the U.S. Navy already in 2019. It is assessed that such weapons “will lower the nuclear threshold [会降低核战门槛],” due in part to the lesser destructive yields and “also the lighter moral pressure [道义压力也较轻].” “At the same time, it is often difficult for opponents to distinguish whether the attacking platform is equipped with tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, which may lead to an escalation of nuclear war,” the Chinese military analysis explains. The article concludes by addressing another rather obvious problem: “… if the United States re-develops tactical nuclear weapons … other countries may adopt the same approach of developing … their own nuclear forces when they feel that their security is more threatened.” That is a rather stark warning that should not be ignored Some further evidence, moreover, that Chinese military leaders have tactical nuclear weapons on their minds these days was a rather in-depth analysis published in Naval & Merchant Ships [舰船知识] in April 2019. While this article does make note of the ethical and environmental problems with such weapons, it disturbingly lays out a rather cogent case for tactical nuclear weapons in the naval context, noting that there is a “higher likelihood that they would be used in an actual battle [更可能在实际战场上被应用].”

US-China cooperation important to avoid mega-war, nuclear terrorism, and pandemics

Allison, July 7, 2019, Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the former director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Could the United States and China be Rivalry Partners?, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/could-united-states-and-china-be-rivalry-partners-65661

Both nations are struggling to find a way to govern their own society. In the United States, where D.C. has become an acronym for Dysfunctional Capital, the challenge is nothing less than to reinvent a functional democracy. In China, as Xi’s attempt to revitalize the Chinese Communist Party as the Leninist mandarin vanguard that will lead a state capitalist economy, Lee Kuan Yew warned him that this was like trying to run twenty-first century apps on a twentieth century operating system. Thus, in this arena, most of the challenges each faces comes from within its own borders.

On the other side of the ledger, there are five arenas in which intense cooperation and partnership will not simply produce mutual benefits. In these arenas, neither state can ensure its most vital interest in survival without serious cooperation from the other. These include avoiding general warfare, specifically nuclear war; preventing the spread of the means and motives for mega-terrorism; preserving a biosphere in which citizens can breathe the air; containing pandemics; and managing financial crises to avoid great depressions (and their political consequences)…. Preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by North Korea or Iran, and in particular the transfer, sale, or theft of nuclear weapons that could be used by terrorists to devastate the heart of a great city, is clearly a deeply shared interest for both parties. And in counterterrorism, they have cooperated significantly, though China’s use of counterterrorism as a cover for repression of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang reminds one of the complexities. Given the fact that every citizen on planet Earth lives inside a single biosphere, unless the United States and China—as the number one and number two emitters of greenhouse gases respectively—can find ways to restrain emissions or limit their effects, by century’s end, citizens could find the climates in both countries unlivable. The Paris Climate Agreement took a small step toward recognizing this fact and beginning to act to address the challenge. President Trump’s withdrawal from the pact and denial of the problem is hard to understand. Pathogens like Ebola or swine flu do not respect national borders. Thus, cooperation to prevent the spread of germs on a globe in which, as JFK put it, “we all breathe the same air,” is necessary for each to protect its own citizens. Finally, financial crises, like the events of 2008 that occurred after the collapse of Lehman Brothers producing a Great Recession and threatening a second Great Depression, can only be managed if the two largest economies in the world work together. In 2008, they did. As former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson—the key player for the United States in that event—has said, the Chinese cooperation in coordinating a Chinese fiscal stimulus was at least as important, and perhaps more important, than American action in what could have become a global depression. (And those who have forgotten the political consequences of the Great Depression of the 1920s should google fascism and Nazism.)

China takeover of Taiwan would force the US out of Asia

CHRIS HORTON is a Taipei-based journalist, July 8, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/07/taiwans-status-geopolitical-absurdity/593371/, Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity

Despite its limited international presence it is difficult to overstate Taiwan’s strategic importance to both the United States and an increasingly assertive China. The island’s location, economy, and security are all essential to American interests, and if Taiwan were to become part of China, as Beijing has insisted it must, China would instantly become a Pacific power, control some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies, and have the ability to choke off oil shipments to Japan and South Korea—leverage it could use to demand the closure of U.S. military bases in both countries. In effect, Beijing would likely be able to achieve its goal of forcing the U.S. out of Asia. It is no surprise, then, that Taiwan is one of the rare issues on Capitol Hill today with bipartisan agreement—Congress has been regularly passing pro-Taiwan legislation with unanimous support throughout the Donald Trump era.

Trump strongly backs Taiwan now

CHRIS HORTON is a Taipei-based journalist, July 8, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/07/taiwans-status-geopolitical-absurdity/593371/, Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity

That is changing under Trump, who is engaged in a trade war with China and is heading what is easily the most pro-Taiwan White House since the TRA went into effect. The State Department and Pentagon are stacked with China hawks and friends of Taiwan, and there is an obvious push for normalization of arms packages, both big and small. A $500 million F-16 training-and-parts package was approved in April, suggesting that approval for a late-February request from Taiwan for 66 F-16 fighters is forthcoming. In early June, Reuters reported a separate pending sale of $2 billion in hardware, including 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, drawing protests from China, with a spokesman in Beijing urging the U.S. “to see the high sensitivity and severe harm of arms sales to Taiwan.”

Political opposition to cutting support to Taiwan

CHRIS HORTON is a Taipei-based journalist, July 8, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/07/taiwans-status-geopolitical-absurdity/593371/, Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity

Despite its limited international presence it is difficult to overstate Taiwan’s strategic importance to both the United States and an increasingly assertive China. The island’s location, economy, and security are all essential to American interests, and if Taiwan were to become part of China, as Beijing has insisted it must, China would instantly become a Pacific power, control some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies, and have the ability to choke off oil shipments to Japan and South Korea—leverage it could use to demand the closure of U.S. military bases in both countries. In effect, Beijing would likely be able to achieve its goal of forcing the U.S. out of Asia. It is no surprise, then, that Taiwan is one of the rare issues on Capitol Hill today with bipartisan agreement—Congress has been regularly passing pro-Taiwan legislation with unanimous support throughout the Donald Trump era.

China is a direct threat to Taiwan

Javad Heydarian, July 1, 2019, avad Heydarian is a fellow at National Chengchi University (Taiwan). His forthcoming book is “The Indo-Pacific: Trump, China and the New Struggle for Global Mastery., Taipei Wont’ Back Down, Bergguen Institute, https://www.berggruen.org/the-worldpost/articles/taiwan-wont-back-down/

TAIPEI — Even as hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong rally in the streets against China’s overbearing power, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is similarly resisting Beijing’s coercive efforts to incorporate it into a Greater China. “China is getting more and more aggressive,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told me a few days ago as we discussed the growing threats to her country’s independence at the presidential palace. But “we will not back down,” she said. Tsai highlighted Beijing’s accelerated efforts to bludgeon the island nation into submission. Ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election next year, Beijing launched a multipronged campaign to eviscerate the island nation’s pro-independence impulses as well as strengthen the momentum towards reunification under China’s terms. What happens here in Taiwan has direct implications for the broader region, where smaller countries are grappling with China’s hegemonic push for a modern tributary system in Asia based on the concept of tianxia — which roughly translates to “all under heaven” coexisting harmoniously. Earlier this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that China and Taiwan “must and will be” reunited, ostensibly under Beijing’s terms. Xi has also touted the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” and in a recent report to the 19th Communist Party Congress, Xi said reunification was a vital aspect of a “new era” for China. Battered by increasing domestic criticism for his perceived mishandling of the ongoing trade war with Washington, the Chinese president might be tempted to rally domestic support through greater foreign policy adventurism. The Chinese defense establishment seems committed to this cause. During this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe warned that the People’s Liberation Army will “make no promise to renounce the use of force” to reunify Taiwan with China. He also said that “any underestimation of the PLA’s resolve and will is extremely dangerous.” Meanwhile, recent Chinese military action suggests Beijing is intent on tightening the noose around Taiwan. In April, Chinese jets brazenly crossed into Taiwan’s airspace for the first time in years. In May, the PLA conducted threatening live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait. A month later, China’s flagship aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, set sail through the area in a demonstration of Beijing’s superior naval power. These maneuvers, as a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report shows, serve a double purpose: intimidating Taiwan into submission and preparing the PLA for potential armed intervention. But the even more immediate threat to Taiwan is China’s systematic efforts to exploit its freedoms and sabotage its democratic institutions. “The Chinese … are engaged in a hybrid warfare,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told me. “They are trying very hard to infiltrate our society.” A senior Taiwanese national security advisor said Beijing had a “sophisticated strategic plan” that aims to co-opt Taiwan’s political elite — including village-level leaders, media personalities and businessmen — in order to weaken pro-independence sentiment and facilitate Taiwan’s absorption by mainland China. Two of the leading contenders in the upcoming Taiwanese presidential elections either have direct links with or are suspected of receiving support from the Chinese leadership. One is the strident populist Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, sometimes known as the “Trump of Taiwan,” who shot from obscurity to superstardom in recent years propelled in part by an effective social media campaign that seems to have been conducted from mainland China. Another Trump-like presidential contender is Terry Gou, the chairman of the electronics giant Foxconn. He enjoys close ties to the Chinese leadership through multibillion-dollar investments in the mainland. Both Han and Gou have not only challenged Tsai’s pro-independence tendencies, but also called for closer economic ties with mainland China. Despite the gradual co-optation of the Taiwanese elite, however, the public remains broadly skeptical of China — especially young people, the backbone of the Sunflower Movement against China’s growing economic encroachment into the island nation. Recent surveys, for instance, show that a majority of Taiwanese prefer sovereignty over economic benefits from China. Another important factor is the decoupling of Taiwan’s economy from China as labor costs on the mainland rise. Major Taiwanese investors are now moving to Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia. “We now have more liberty to speak for our independence,” Tsai told me. “People have to bear in mind that you need to be independent [economically], since China uses economics as leverage.” The Tsai administration seems pleased with Washington’s aggressive stance toward China and its growing commitment to the island nation. The Trump administration has cleared arms sales to Taiwan and the U.S. Senate recently called for expanded support for the island nation’s defensive capabilities. Under Trump, Washington has also deepened diplomatic contact between senior American officials and the Taiwanese leadership. “We are now [more] confident about America’s commitment to our alliance,” one senior Taiwanese official told me. Were Taiwan to fall, it would send shockwaves across the region and warnings to other countries about China’s infiltration into democratic societies across Asia. Remaining successfully independent, on the other hand, would embolden other small nations to stand up to Beijing and protect their own freedoms. So far, despite facing an existential threat from China, the Taiwanese leadership remains undaunted in its efforts to secure the island nation’s democracy and independence. After all, as Taiwan’s impassioned foreign minister put it, “showing weakness [to China] is an invitation for aggression.”

Trump undermines the credibility of the US commitment to Taiwan

Shelley Rigger, Davidson College, July 3, 2019, A US Perspective, http://www.theasanforum.org/a-us-perspective-9/

As tensions between Washington and Beijing have risen, officials in the Congress and the executive branch have taken a number of actions aimed at shoring up America’s support for Taiwan. Taiwan’s government welcomes these moves, but there are reasons to be cautious. The most worrisome actor in Washington is the White House, whose messaging on Taiwan policy has been confusing. No one really knows where Taiwan falls in Trump’s list of priorities, and at least some of the officials around him seem motivated not by Taiwan’s intrinsic value to the US, but by the possibility of using it to gain leverage over the PRC…. Exactly how Taiwan policy has changed is hard to pin down, because the Trump White House lacks a coherent line on this issue. Trump’s famous phone call with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen in December 2016 was widely interpreted as evidence that Trump planned to upgrade relations with Taiwan, but he reversed himself under PRC pressure, promising China’s leader Xi Jinping that he would not speak to Tsai again without consulting Xi. A few days after the phone call with Tsai, Trump managed to reassure and undermine Taiwan in a single sentence, telling Fox News, “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” In other words, he suggested that the US might abandon the policy framework that restricts US interactions with Taiwan (and enables engagement with China), but he also implied that Taiwan policy could become a bargaining chip in US-China relations. He walked back the first of those ideas a few days later, again under Chinese pressure, but he has never put to rest the possibility that Taiwan could find itself traded away in exchange for concessions from Beijing.

Trump not consistent enough to send a strong signal in support of Taiwan

Shelley Rigger, Davidson College, July 3, 2019, A US Perspective, http://www.theasanforum.org/a-us-perspective-9/

If, as Wang and many others expect, the conflict between China and the US intensifies, Taiwan is certain to suffer, especially given the Trump White House’s policy incoherence. As University of South California political scientist Dan Lynch wrote Foreign Affairs in March 2018, “While there would probably be jubilation in Taiwan if Trump were to radically upgrade U.S. relations with the island nation, it would be wiser for Tsai to resist the temptation to accept such a change. She should recognize that doing so would turn Taiwan into a pawn in Washington’s struggle with Beijing. The Trump administration is too unfocused and chaotic to be a reliable partner, and Trump’s nativist political base would likely reject the United States going to war on Taiwan’s behalf.”

Trump undermining trade relations with Taiwan

Shelley Rigger, Davidson College, July 3, 2019, A US Perspective, http://www.theasanforum.org/a-us-perspective-9/

There is one policy area in which the Trump White House has been consistent: it has showed no regard for Taiwan’s economic interests. One of Trump’s first acts in office was to withdraw the US from the Transpacific Partnership (TPP). Under President Obama, TPP was touted as a rare opportunity to reverse Taiwan’s growing economic marginalization and political isolation. Without TPP, the US has little to offer Taiwan on this front, although the State Department has worked hard to strengthen the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a joint US-Taiwan vehicle for highlighting Taiwan’s strengths and helping other nations develop and implement solutions to difficult problems. In addition to pulling the TPP rug out from under Taiwan’s feet, Trump dragged the island into his trade wars. The administration refused to exempt Taiwan from its steel and aluminum tariffs, and its tariffs on Chinese exports offers no tariff relief to the thousands of Taiwanese companies whose supply chains end in mainland China, even though most of them rely on components made in Taiwan. Some of those firms are transferring production to Taiwan, but reshoring is expensive, and the cost structure that pushed companies to leave has not changed, making their profitability uncertain. The Taiwan stock market shows the extent of the damage, with high volatility and sagging investor confidence.

China cutting China-US military ties in response ot the most recent arms sale

Daily Beast, April 25, 2019, https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2010/01/30/china-hits-back-after-us-taiwan-deal, China Hits Back After U.S.-Taiwan Deal

In response to the new $6 billion arms deal between Taiwan and the U.S., China has suspended military exchanges with the United States, according to The Washington Post. The announcement came along with a statement from the Chinese Defense Ministry saying, “Considering the severe harm and odious effect of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the Chinese side has decided to suspend planned mutual military visits,” and the vice minister of foreign affairs described the mood in the Chinese government as “strongly indignant.” The planned deal with Taiwan is part of a package put together by George W. Bush, and will involve the sale of weapons and equipment including Black Hawk helicopters, information technology, mine-hunting ships, and Patriot missiles.

Arms sales a major sticking point in the relationship

Daily Beast, April 25, 2019, https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2010/01/30/china-hits-back-after-us-taiwan-deal, China Hits Back After U.S.-Taiwan Deal

As the PRC economy developed and globalized, US-China ties deepened. But Beijing never stopped complaining about the ways in which Washington helped Taiwan remain politically separate from the PRC. The Taiwan issue – especially US arms sales to Taiwan – became a major sticking point in the relationship, causing some US observers to question whether Washington should downgrade its relations with Taiwan.

Taiwan won’t declare independence

Daily Beast, April 25, 2019, https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2010/01/30/china-hits-back-after-us-taiwan-deal, China Hits Back After U.S.-Taiwan Deal

Democratic Taiwan has been careful not to overstep its boundaries in ways that might complicate Washington’s efforts to balance support for Taiwan with engaging China. While many Taiwanese dream of becoming a fully independent state, their leaders have been careful to avoid strong statements that could provoke the PRC. When President Chen Shui-bian veered too close to that guardrail in 2003, President George W. Bush rebuked him, and Taiwan’s voters rejected his approach. Taipei has never pressed Washington to choose between good relations with the PRC and support for Taiwan.

New tank deal with Taiwan

Taiper Times, July 7, 2019, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/07/07/2003718271, Abrams tanks deal with US in pipeline: MND

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Friday confirmed efforts to procure M1A2 Abrams tanks and other weapons from the US, and welcomed news that a sale might be announced soon. “We welcome [the news] and hope to get the tanks as soon as possible,” ministry spokesman Major General Shih Shun-wen (史順文) said in response to a report by the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times) that a review of Taiwan’s purchase request is complete and that Washington is expected to announce approval of the deal soon. The 108 Abrams tanks that the government wants to buy are meant to replace aging CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks and M60A3 Patton tanks that have served the military for 20 years, the ministry said, adding that the new tanks would be deployed in northern Taiwan. Requests had been submitted to Washington for 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 BGM-71 anti-tank missiles, 409 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 250 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, the ministry said in a June 6 statement. The Pentagon and the US Department of State have notified the US Congress of a potential US$2 billion arms deal with Taiwan, Reuters reported on Wednesday, a sign that the sale is likely to go through, although a formal, public notification must still be made to Congress. The US has sent personnel to Taiwan to train technicians to maintain and repair the M1A2 tanks, military sources said. To obtain the larger ammunition employed by the new tanks more quickly, the ministry’s Armaments Bureau is considering producing the 120mm rounds, the military sources said. Since US President Donald Trump took office, Washington has approved three arms sales to Taiwan, a sign that the US firmly backs Taiwan’s national security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.

F-16V will be sold to Taiwan

Keoni Everington, July 4, 2019, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3738180, Trump pushes forward with sale of F-16V warplanes despite China complaints

After numerous delays, the Trump administration is again moving ahead with the sale of 66 F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan, despite renewed trade talks with Beijing over the U.S.-China trade war. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense applied to buy 66 F16-V (Viper) fighter jets at the recommendation of the U.S. government on February 27. There had been reports in Taiwan that Trump had put the deal hold for fear of upsetting Beijing during the contentious U.S.-China trade talks. However, two officials told Foreign Policy (FP) that the deal had actually been delayed due to longer-than-expected “negotiations over price and configuration of aircraft.” Officials told FP that the goal is to move to the next stage of the proposed sale during Congress’s recess in August.

“Reducing” F-16 to Taiwan isn’t topical – it’s not a completed deal

Keoni Everington, July 4, 2019, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3738180, Trump pushes forward with sale of F-16V warplanes despite China complaints

The arms sale has not yet reached completion, and the request for the purchase must be agreed upon by both the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department before being formally submitted to Congress. The U.S. Congress will then have 30 days to comment on the arms sale proposal. The proposed sale of the upgraded fighter jets to Taiwan has already raised hackles in Beijing. Geng Shuang (耿爽), a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in March that “China’s resolute opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is consistent and firm, and the country has lodged solemn representations with the United States over the issue.”

F-16Vs have unique military capabilities

Keoni Everington, July 4, 2019, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3738180, Trump pushes forward with sale of F-16V warplanes despite China complaints

The biggest advantage of the new F-16Vs is the new AN/APG-83 AESA radar which can search, track, and lock on to multiple targets, CNA reports. The jets also include upgraded mission computers and cockpit dashboards, new helmet-mounted displays, and come equipped with the latest AIM-9X sidewinder missiles.

Arms sales, including tanks, critical to stop China’s invasion of Taiwan

Osborn, June 18, 2019, Kris Osborn is a Senior Fellow at The Lexington Institute. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has a Masters in Comparative Literature from Columbia University, , This Tank Could Stop a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

The Trump administration’s plan to sell tanks, missiles and ground-launched air defenses to Taiwan embodies what might be called a strategic paradigm shift to empower the small island’s deterrence posture against an often-threatened Chinese invasion. While much existing discussion centers upon strengthening Taiwanese air, sea and undersea defenses, there also appears to be an unequivocal need for major land defenses. The existing air-sea emphasis is extremely important, yet there are certainly elements of this approach which invite further discussion about the need to provide Taiwan with a strong, armored ground force as well. The proposed $2 billion arms package includes 108 main battle tanks, 250 Stinger anti-air missiles, as well as 409 Javelins and 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles. 0 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? Drawing heavily upon a US Pacific presence along with Asian-theater allied support, a maritime-air Taiwan defense strategy has clearly had a deterrence impact in recent years. Part of this ability to keep a Chinese invasion at bay has naturally hinged upon a strong US posture ensuring defense of the island. A cursory look at US arms sales to Taiwan in recent decades reveals a maritime strategic emphasis: the US has sold frigates, amphibious ships, harpoons and key air assets such as Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters. While these initiatives are, quite obviously, not useless — there have been some significant factors that have emerged in recent years which, without question, change the deterrence landscape. Taiwan received some Patriot (PAC-3) air defense missiles during the George W. Bush administration, yet Taiwan has overwhelmingly purchased maritime defenses. They have also received air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons, torpedos, and ship-fired SM-2 missiles. Report Advertisement Simply put, China’s accelerated naval modernization plan continues to alarm many at the Pentagon. The Chinese are not only on a fast track to build indigenous aircraft carriers but also moving quickly on new submarines, amphibs, destroyers, corvettes and other maritime assets, leading many to assess that the Chinese Navy may in fact be passing the US Navy in sheer size. In effect, this means that any kind of Chinese sea-air focused attack could meet with success at great cost to the pro-US nations in the area. Several Congressional US-China Economic and Security Reviews released in recent years, along with an Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) report specify concern about Chinese naval weapons and platform modernization. The Chinese are known to be working on more YUZHAO LPDs – amphibious attack vehicles which can carry 800 troops, four helicopters and up to 20 armored vehicles, according to the Congressional assessment. China’s surface fleet is also bolstered by production of at least 60 smaller, fast-moving HOUBEI-class guided missile patrol boats and ongoing deliveries of JIANGDAO light frigates armed with naval guns, torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles. Furthermore, while Chinese attack submarine expansion is widely known, an often less-recognized fact is the rapid development of heavily-armed LUYANG III destroyers, equipped with anti-submarine weapons and new, vertically-launched anti-ship cruise missiles. Report Advertisement ONI also raised concerns about China’s nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine force, to include the Jin-class submarines — bringing China’s “first credible at-sea-second-strike nuclear capability,” the ONI report states. The submarine would fire the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile, which has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and would “enable the Jin to strike Hawaii, Alaska and possibly western portions of CONUS [continental United States] from East Asian waters,” ONI assessed. Given this circumstance, it is quite reasonable to observe that, in the event of some kind Chinese attack, Tawainese and allied maritime power alone may not be sufficient. Accordingly, a credible ground force fortified by tanks and air-defense missiles does two clear things: it could very well further deter China by virtue of ensuring a high-casualty ground war and also force China to transit heavy forces across the ocean. That kind of heavy deployment is never easy, and certainly not without major risk of air and sea attack. Both of these factors seem, without question, to further strengthen Taiwan’s deterrence strategy. Even if China believes it would ultimately prevail in a ground invasion against Taiwan, the promise of a credible Taiwanese ground threat does change the equation. This could also decrease the possibility of any needed US intervention. In particular, Javelin anti-tank missiles, TOW missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft weapons would certainly enable a Taiwanese defense force to target Chinese tanks, helicopters, armored vehicles and even drones. Looking back over the past decade, this history underscores the fact that the current Trump administration posture, as evidenced by the proposed sale, signifies what could be called an ambitious new step in US Pacific strategy.

Taiwan arms sales the most important issue in US-China relations, and the US can’t bargain with China over arms sales

Linette Lopez, June 11, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/us-arms-sales-to-taiwan-bigger-threat-to-us-china-relations, Forget the trade war — a bigger conflict between the US and China is playing out right under our noses

The world has its eye on the trade war between the US and China, but a more dangerous confrontation between the two nations is playing out in the background: the worsening disagreement over the “One China” policy. Last week, Reuters reported that Washington was on its way to approving $2 billion worth of arms sales to Taiwan. The move indicates the Trump administration isn’t trying to create an atmosphere conducive to trade negotiations and suggests that disputes between the US and China are more likely headed toward escalation than resolution. “Taiwan is the thing the Chinese care most about hands down,” said Susan Thornton, a former assistant US secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. “Anything where the US is interfering with Taiwan hits a national third rail.” The One China policy — under which the US acknowledges China’s claim that Taiwan is not an independent nation but rather a part of China, without taking a side — was developed during the Nixon administration to improve US-China relations. The idea is central to China’s identity as a modern world power, and since President Donald Trump took office the US has challenged that notion repeatedly. Despite protests from Beijing, Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation permitting high-level talks between US and Taiwanese officials, last year. In May, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, met with David Lee, one of Taiwan’s top security officials. This meeting came just after Taiwan renamed its unofficial embassy in Washington the Taiwan Council for US Affairs. The old name, the Coordination Council for North American Affairs, neglected to mention Taiwan or the US. The Trump administration has also sold arms to Taiwan before, as have previous administrations, but this $2 billion arms sale digs at a delicate wound during a delicate time. It’s a big sale, even in a world where weapons are becoming more and more expensive. And though it does not include the US’s top fighter jets, it is sure to antagonize Beijing before the G20 meeting at the end of the month in Osaka, Japan, where US and Chinese heads of state are expected to meet. On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry representative, Geng Shuang, responded to the news of the arms sale with a warning, according to the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua. “We urge the US side to stop arms sales to Taiwan and sever their military ties, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, to avoid serious damage to China-US relations as well as to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” Geng said. It’s just imagination In January 2017, China — most likely aware that the incoming US president was unfamiliar with the complexities of US-China relations — clarified its position on Taiwan in a rare US media interview by the Chinese Foreign Ministry official Lu Kang. “Because this issue touches upon China’s core interest, by no means is this something that could be negotiated or used as a bargaining chip,” he told NBC. ” One China policy, 100%.” The fight over Taiwan’s status started in 1949 after the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek left the mainland for the island when he was defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces. To the Chinese, the island’s independence is both a product and a reminder of China’s century of humiliation, when China was carved up by foreign powers and then thrown into decades of chaos and civil war after the end of the Qing dynasty.

Tank sale deal will go through

Focus Taiwan, July 5, 2019, http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201907050016.aspx, MND voices optimism on purchase of M1A2 tanks from U.S.

The 108 M1A2 armored vehicles Taiwan wants to buy are meant to replace aging CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks and M60A3 armored vehicles that have served the military for 20 years, and they will be deployed in northern Taiwan, according to the ministry.

In a statement issued June 6, the MND said it had sent requests for letters of offer and acceptance to the U.S. for 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 BGM-71 Tow missiles, 409 FGM-148 Javelin missiles and 250 FIM-92 Stinger missiles, which were being reviewed by the U.S. Reuters reported on Wednesday in the U.S. that the Pentagon and State Department informally notified Congress of a potential US$2 billion arms deal with Taiwan, a sign that the sale will go through.

(F16-V)There is not even a formal contract in plan and the number is uncertain – this is not a reduction relative to the status quo and we can’t determine if it is a substantial reduction because we don’t know the amount

Frank Chen, July 2019, Asia Times, https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/new-f-16v-fighters-could-fly-to-taiwan-in-2020/, New F-16V fighters could fly to Taiwan in 2020

Taiwan’s years-long efforts to buy new F-16 jets to ramp up defense is now expected to bear fruit, as a squadron of the fighters in the series’ latest V configuration may start reinforcing the island’s military as soon as next year. The Trump administration will press ahead and see through the F-16 deal, despite angering Beijing, according to a report by the Washington-based Foreign Policy this week. The magazine cited two unidentified sources as saying the sale of as many as 66 F-16V jets would go to Congress before its summer recess next month. Taiwan’s request must still be converted into a formal proposal by the Pentagon and State Department, before Congress can officially debate it during a 30-day period… But Washington’s quasi-diplomatic mission to the island, the American Institute in Taiwan, has chosen to mince its words, stressing merely that they would only announce a deal if one is ratified by Congress.

(T-Reduce) A request for arms is not a contract

Defense Industry Daily, July 5, 2019, https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/taiwans-unstalled-force-modernization-04250/

Note that DSCA requests are not contracts; those are separate announcements, and sometimes years pass between the two events.

Taiwan building its defenses through arms sales now

Defense Industry Daily, July 5, 2019, https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/taiwans-unstalled-force-modernization-04250/

Despite China’s ominous military buildup across the strait, key weapons sales of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, Patriot PAC-3 missiles, and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan had been sabotaged by Taiwanese politics for years – in some cases, since 1997. The KMT party’s flip-flops and determined stalling tactics eventually created a crisis in US-Taiwan relations, which finally soured to the point that the USA refused a Taiwanese request for F-16C/D aircraft. That seems to have brought things to a head. Most of the budget and political issues were eventually sorted out, and after a long delay, some major elements of Taiwan’s requested modernization program appear to be moving forward: P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, UH-60M helicopters, Patriot missile upgrades; and requests for AH-64D attack helicopters, E-2 Hawkeye AWACS planes, minehunting ships, and missiles for defense against aircraft, ships, and tanks. These are must-have capabilities when facing a Chinese government that has vowed to take the country by force, and which is building an extensive submarine fleet, a large array of ballistic missiles, an upgraded fighter fleet, and a number of amphibious-capable divisions. Chinese pressure continues to stall some of Taiwan’s most important upgrades, including diesel-electric submarines, and new American fighter jets.

Taiwan needs air power to protect its navy against Chinese aggression

t sea, the situation is simultaneously less overtly perilous, and less hopeful. China’s navy is certainly growing, but is not yet overwhelming. The problem is that without air superiority as cover, no Taiwanese surface navy can expect to survive, in order to maintain control of the seas around Taiwan. Britain faced the same equation in World War 2, and prevailed by winning in the air.

US has not yet agreed to sell F-16vs

Defense Industry Daily, July 5, 2019, https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/taiwans-unstalled-force-modernization-04250/, Taiwan’s Force Modernization: The American Side

Lara Seligman from Foreign Policy Magazine reported external link that Taiwan’s request to buy F-16V jets was expected to move forward this month, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that the request is still only being reviewed by the US. According to the article, although the deal for 66 F-16 Block 70 jets has been stalled, it is expected to move forward before the US Congress begins its traditional recess next month.

Arms sales to Taiwan demonstrate a substantive US commitment beyond symbolic action

The News Lense, https://international.thenewslens.com/article/121200, Is 2019 the Breakthrough Year for U.S.-Taiwan Relations?, Milo Hsieh studies international relations at American University. He is an intern at Project 2049 Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank focused on East Asia security and affairs in China and Taiwan.

In 2019 the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which governs U.S. commitment to Taiwan, hits its forty-year anniversary. Established in 1979 in the aftermath of U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the TRA re-established U.S. relations with the people of Taiwan after ceasing to recognize the government of the Republic of China, which had ruled Taiwan since 1949 and claimed to be the sole legitimate government representing China. Many in the U.S. were excited by the opportunity brought on by connecting with China after President Richard Nixon made a surprise visit in 1972 — also the year that the PRC replaced Generalissimo Chiang’s (蔣介石) representatives in the U.N. as a permanent member of the security council. Under Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), China’s economy was reformed and opened up to the outside for investment. For decades after the reform, China’s economy grew significantly. After China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, its export boosted significantly, allowing it to slowly rise to the position of a formidable power in East Asia. However, as we reach toward the end of the 21st century’s second decade, China’s rise — along with its increasingly authoritarian governing structure under Xi Jinping (習近平) — now presents a greater threat to U.S. interest in the Indo-Pacific region. While many were optimistic about China potentially democratizing, the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989 dashed hopes for democratization despite countries such as South Korea and Taiwan democratizing. Furthermore, the recent abolition of term limit for China’s president under Xi Jinping, commonly seen as the appointment of himself as a dictator for life, is seen as a backslide in China’s democratic development. AP_18265750975585 Credit: AP/ TPG Images Demonstrators march across 42nd street during a rally and march to protest Taiwan’s continued exclusion from the UN and the international community, in New York, Sept. 22, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump began taking a harder stance on China as of 2018. China has become increasingly aggressive toward U.S. allies and increasingly assertive toward the U.S. The militarization of the South China Sea impeded upon of the interest of Southeast Asian claimants. Its dismissal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling of the Philippines V China case, which awarded the islands to Philippines — as well as its continued exclusion of Taiwan from U.N. organizations and especially the World Health Organization — showed how China was willing to advance its interests at the expense of its democratic neighbors. Perhaps in realization that U.S. interests no longer align as much with China, the U.S. started to cooperate with Taiwan. Although Taiwan was once considered an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” of the U.S., the official defense commitment ended when the U.S. switched recognition and signed the Taiwan Relations Act. After a 39 year hiatus in passing any legislation in the U.S. Congress on Taiwan related issues, in 2018 both the Taiwan Travel Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act were passed and signed into law. The acts encouraged more high-level contact between Taiwan and the U.S. and reiterated U.S. security interests in Taiwan. Meanwhile on trade and economy, China’s exploitation of the asymmetry of openness between the two economies became increasingly obvious. Under Xi Jinping, doctrines such as the One Belt One Road, Made in China 2025, and the vision for a Red Supply Chain began to be seen as threats to regional stability as China attempted to project its power abroad. The fact that Chinese companies were taking a foothold in building infrastructures and consumer electronics began to be considered worrisome as the line between civilian and military technologies blurred in China. The U.S. is worried that China intends to exploit its reliance on Chinese-made products to collect information or otherwise compromise U.S. national security. Huawei became a prime example of this concern when it was placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s entity list. AP_18123204537344 Credit: AP/ TPG Images A robot assistant receptionist is seen at the booth of a Chinese automaker during the China Auto 2018 show in Beijing, China. Under President Xi Jinping, a program known as “Made in China 2025” aims to make China a tech superpower by advancing development of industries that in addition to semiconductors includes artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals and electric vehicles, April 26, 2018. Under such conditions, Taiwan, now a “beacon of democracy” in East Asia according to its President Tsai Ing-wen, stands as a viable alternative to China. Taiwan has had acquired decades of expertise in producing electronic products and parts after the “Taiwan Miracle” in which tech manufacturing took flight between the 1970s and 1990s. Additionally, Taiwan’s democracy is now a more obvious strength as cybersecurity issues in China combined with its authoritarian structure present many challenges. New 21st century technologies and practices — data hosting and collection, cellular infrastructures, expanded use of digital equipment — all would become vulnerabilities if firms are to be located in a country where the government attempts to exert full control through any means possible. Whereas democracies have put emphasis on individual rights and rights to privacy, authoritarian regimes such as China have demonstrated their willingness to violate these universal rights in order to strengthen control. Taiwan’s status in 2019 now shifts from an island of ambiguous political status to one which the U.S. would like to see empowered. In 2019, the Taiwan Relations Act on its fortieth anniversary just happens to give a reason for Taiwanese organizations and think tanks to loudly voice Taiwan’s narrative. In Washington D.C. and elsewhere, Taiwan’s story, which has long been washed away by their much louder Chinese counterparts, is seeing a revival as it makes progress in areas such as legalizing same-sex marriage. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, previously mostly frozen during the Obama and Bush years, saw a revival when activities on the sale of F-16Vs resumed in March 2019. A training program for Taiwanese fighter pilots is also likely to continue. Despite protests by China, U.S. warships have also begun to cross the Taiwan Strait much more regularly and frequently. This suggests that the U.S. is actively shifting its stance toward Taiwan and China, taking substantive actions on top of its symbolic support. U.S. President Donald Trump began taking a harder stance on China as of 2018, following China becoming increasingly aggressive toward U.S. allies and increasingly assertive toward the U.S. The militarization of the South China Sea impeded upon of the interests of Southeast Asian claimants. China’s dismissal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling of the Philippines V China case, which awarded the islands to Philippines — as well as its continued exclusion of Taiwan from U.N. organizations and especially the World Health Organization — showed how China was willing to advance its interest at the expense of its democratic neighbors.Arms sales are a symbolic commitment of a new US emphasis on backing Taiwan and improving relations

China willing to make trade concession in exchange for reducing arms sales to Taiwan (potential counterplan)

Bowman & Smit, 2019, Bradley Bowman is senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mikhael Smits is a research analyst, https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/06/26/trade-deal-with-china-or-not-the-us-must-bolster-taiwans-defense/, Trade deal with China or not, the US must bolster Taiwan’s defense

At the G-20 summit this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping may pressure U.S. President Donald Trump to halt a planned U.S. arms deal with Taiwan. Xi may even offer a tantalizing (but unreliable) concession on the trade dispute in return for concessions on Taiwan.

Pending arms sales must be approved to deter China

Bowman & Smit, 2019, Bradley Bowman is senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mikhael Smits is a research analyst, https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/06/26/trade-deal-with-china-or-not-the-us-must-bolster-taiwans-defense/, Trade deal with China or not, the US must bolster Taiwan’s defense

Bullies tend to start fights they think they can win, an important consideration when it comes to deterring Beijing from aggression against Taiwan. Unfortunately, due to China’s massive military mobilization and Washington’s past reluctance to provide sufficient arms to Taiwan, the military balance of power in the Taiwan Strait has shifted in Beijing’s direction — making war there more likely. To begin reducing this risk, Washington would be wise to follow through on delivery of the pending arms package for Taiwan…Impatient — and determined to exert control over the island — Beijing has employed political and military means to isolate and intimidate Taiwan. First, Beijing has pressed countries to cut ties with Taiwan. In 2018 alone, China successfully pressured three more countries to sever Taiwanese relations, leaving only 17 that recognize the island’s government. Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation makes American support all the more important. The U.S. Defense Department’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report released this month notes that “China has never renounced the use of military force against Taiwan, and continues to develop and deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a potential military campaign.” Indeed, as demonstrated by an increased number of military exercises near Taiwan, the report warns that the People’s Liberation Army is “preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the mainland by force.” More dangerously, due primarily to its extraordinary military buildup, Beijing is moving ever closer to an ability to successfully invade the island.

China can no longer rely on its own technology to deter China

Bowman & Smit, 2019, Bradley Bowman is senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mikhael Smits is a research analyst, https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/06/26/trade-deal-with-china-or-not-the-us-must-bolster-taiwans-defense/, Trade deal with China or not, the US must bolster Taiwan’s defense

n the past, Taiwan’s superior technology and geography gave Taiwan a military edge when it came to a potential conflict in the strait. However, as the Pentagon noted, due to China’s military buildup, those advantages are now largely gone. In fact, as the Defense Intelligence Agency’s 2019 report on Chinese military power assessed, “Beijing’s longstanding interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization.”

China uses economic growth to fund its military

Bowman & Smit, 2019, Bradley Bowman is senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mikhael Smits is a research analyst, https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/06/26/trade-deal-with-china-or-not-the-us-must-bolster-taiwans-defense/, Trade deal with China or not, the US must bolster Taiwan’s defense

Based on the hope that economic liberalization would lead to political liberalization, Washington facilitated Beijing’s integration into the global economy. American support for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization epitomized this strategy. Unfortunately, increased wealth did not launch an inexorable march toward freedom in China. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, used its financial windfall to fund a major military expansion, bully its neighbors and attempt to push the U.S. out of the region.

China is preparing for a ground invasion of Taiwan

Michael Yoo, May 3, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2019/05/03/china-is-laying-the-groundwork-for-war-with-taiwan/, China is laying the groundwork for war with Taiwan

China is improving and increasing its options for a possible future invasion of Taiwan, with military reforms and investments in multi-domain military capabilities offering a range of options to defeat the self-governing island, according to a Pentagon report These options range from an air and sea blockade of Taiwan to a full-scale invasion, although the latter option would require a significant increase in the number of amphibious ships, according to the latest annual China Military Power Report released Thursday by the Department of Defense. Taiwan official pledges boost in defense capabilities won’t be deterred by Chinese ‘coercion’ Taiwan official pledges boost in defense capabilities won’t be deterred by Chinese ‘coercion’ Under pressure from China, Taiwan has had difficulty since the 1980s in buying weapons and other defense equipment from anyone but the United States, and in upgrading its existing arsenal. By: Martin Banks Nevertheless, the report cautioned that the People’s Liberation Army or PLA’s efforts to convert the bulk of its maneuver units to combined arms brigades, “should eventually create more capable, modular brigades and battalions,” while the “expansion of army aviation and the creation of two new air assault brigades also provides more attack, air assault and close air support options for a Taiwan invasion.” China’s PLA has also made efforts to improve its ability to insert forces by air, by restructuring its airborne corps and establishing air assault units, which would be charged with aerial insertion and seizing key terrain. This restructure saw it reorganizing its previous units into airborne infantry brigades, a special operations brigade, an aviation brigade, and a support brigade, with the corps conducting training exercises in 2018 that involved long-range raid and airborne operations based on actual war plans. The service has also established a joint logistics support force in late 2016, with the primary goal of supporting a strategic campaign such as a Taiwan invasion. This would be accomplished through command and control of joint logistics, delivering of materiel, and managing various civil-military integration support mechanisms. It’s strategic support force would then be responsible for the use of electronic warfare and cyber operations during a Taiwan contingency, by “seizing and maintaining battlefield information control in contemporary informatized warfare.” The report added that the PLA is likely still exploring how to reform its joint command processes to integrate information operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities more fully at the theater-level, but noted that the structural reforms have removed the biggest barriers to integrating these strategic capabilities.

Very difficulty politically and militarily for China to invade Taiwan

Michael Yoo, May 3, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2019/05/03/china-is-laying-the-groundwork-for-war-with-taiwan/, China is laying the groundwork for war with Taiwan

Nonetheless, the report raises questions about China’s current ability to conduct a full-scale invasion. Despite advances in the quality and quantity of its surface combatants and submarines, the PLA Navy has in recent years only acquired a small number of landing platform docks “indicating a near term focus on smaller scale expeditionary missions rather than a large number of [Landing Ship Tanks] and medium landing craft that would be necessary for a large-scale direct beach assault.” The preparedness of the recently expanded PLA Marine Corps was also in doubt, with exercises rarely going beyond battalion level events, and its newly raised brigades yet to receive “their full complement of required equipment and not fully mission capable.” As a consequence, the report noted that the scope of training for these units was “rudimentary and the new brigades remain unequipped to perform amphibious assault operations,” concluding that an invasion of Taiwan, besides being fraught with significant political risk, “would likely strain China’s armed forces.”

US arms sales critical to deter a larger Chinese military

Brian Prescott, June 24, 2019, A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody, logistical nightmare, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/23/asia/taiwan-china-invasion-intl-hnk/index.html

But the practical realities of a full-blown invasion are also daunting for the PLA, according to experts. Ferrying hundreds of thousands of troops across the narrow Taiwan Strait to a handful of reliable landing beaches, in the face of fierce resistance, is a harrowing prospect. Troops would then have a long slog over Taiwan’s western mudflats and mountains to reach the capital, Taipei. Not only that, but China would face an opponent who has been preparing for war for almost 70 years. At mass anti-invasion drills in May, Taiwan military spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-Chi said the island knew it had to always be “combat-ready.” “Of course, we don’t want war, but only by gaining our own strength can we defend ourselves,” he said. “If China wants to take any action against us, it has to consider paying a painful price.” An historic Chinese Cultural Revolution poster, showing a Chinese soldier and the island of Taiwan. "We must liberate Taiwan," the caption says. An historic Chinese Cultural Revolution poster, showing a Chinese soldier and the island of Taiwan. “We must liberate Taiwan,” the caption says. Difficult and bloody It could be easy to assume that any invasion of Taiwan by Beijing would be brief and devastating for Taipei: a David and Goliath fight between a tiny island and the mainland’s military might, population and wealth. With nearly 1.4 billion people, the People’s Republic of China has the largest population in the world. Taiwan has fewer than 24 million people — a similar number to Australia. China has the fifth largest territory in the world, while Taiwan is the size of Denmark or the US state of Maryland. And Beijing runs an economy that is second only to the United States, while Taiwan’s doesn’t rank in the world’s top 20. But perhaps most pertinently, China has been building and modernizing its military at an unprecedented rate, while Taiwan relies on moderate US arms sales. In sheer size, the PLA simply dwarfs Taiwan’s military. China has an estimated 1 million troops, almost 6,000 tanks, 1,500 fighter jets and 33 navy destroyers, according to the latest US Defense Department report. Taiwan’s ground force troops barely number 150,000 and are backed by 800 tanks and about 350 fighter aircraft, the report found, while its navy fields only four destroyer-class ships. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the PLA has rapidly modernized, buoyed by rises in military spending and crackdowns on corruption in the army’s leadership. “China’s leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention,” according to a 2019 US Defense Intelligence Agency report on China’s military. Yet while China hawks in the media might beat the drum of invasion, an internal China military study, seen by CNN, revealed that the PLA considers an invasion of Taiwan to be extremely difficult. “Taiwan has a professional military, with a strong core of American-trained experts,” said Ian Easton, author of “The Chinese Invasion Threat” and research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, as well as “highly defensible” terrain. In his book he described an invasion by China as “the most difficult and bloody mission facing the Chinese military.”

Arms sales strengthen Tsai politically

Huileng Tan, 6-20-19, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/21/taiwan-elections-2020-tsai-ing-wen-and-hong-kong-protests.html, Hong Kong protests give Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen a boost as elections approach

The sentiment that has overwhelmed Hong Kong over the China extradition bill in the past weeks has spilled over to neighboring Taiwan, pushing relations with China to the forefront of upcoming general elections. “Beijing holds out Hong Kong’s One Country, Two Systems arrangement as the model for eventual unification with Taiwan, which it claims as its own,” Ben Bland, a researcher at Australian think tank Lowy Institute, wrote in a recent note published online. “But (Taiwanese) President Tsai Ing-wen was using the extradition bill, and the massive protests in Hong Kong, to highlight once again why her country must keep its distance from China if it is to remain a vibrant democracy.” Beijing views self-governed Taiwan as a province that has gone astray, and has been using increasingly aggressive rhetoric toward the island to push for a reunification after a civil war 70 years ago split the two territories. Now, issues of independence has been thrust under the spotlight in Taiwan after massive protests took place in the streets of Hong Kong over a contentious bill that would allow accused criminals to be extradited to China. Citizens fear that the plan would threaten Hong Kong’s autonomy. The former British colony was guaranteed a high level of control over its own affairs for at least 50 years under a “one country, two systems” arrangement when Britain ceded sovereignty to China in 1997. This model operates on the principle that the territories are part of China, but can run their government, legal, economic and trade relations independently. Beijing has been trying to sell the same model to Taiwan for years. But with presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan set to take place in January 2020, candidates — even from opposition parties seen to be more pro-China — have been speaking out against Beijing and showing support for the Hong Kong protesters.

Arms sales to Taiwan alienate China, crush potential trade agreement

Vivian Salama, 6-17, 19, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-is-split-over-arms-sale-to-taiwan-11560805016, Trump Administration Is Split Over Arms Sale to Taiwan

WASHINGTON—As the U.S. pursues the sale of more than $2 billion of tanks and other weapons to Taiwan, the Trump administration is split over the potential repercussions the deal may have on efforts to reignite trade talks with China. Concerns are growing among some in the administration that China’s president, Xi Jinping, may use the weapons deal as one more excuse not to meet with President Trump later this month on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan, according to three White House and administration officials. One of the officials said there is already only “a 50-50 chance” of those talks happening, given how fragile the relationship has become over Mr. Trump’s escalating tariffs, and the weapons sale may jeopardize even those chances. But others, including national security adviser John Bolton, see the sale as necessary for strengthening Washington’s alliance with Taiwan and countering Chinese aggression. In theory, the weapons deal is a business opportunity Mr. Trump would see as bolstering the U.S. economy. But it also could have short-term implications on his efforts to strike a deal with the world’s second-largest economy. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control. The U.S. is the main arms supplier to Taiwan, but recognizes China and has formal ties with it rather than with Taiwan, in keeping with China’s “One China” policy. For a time after Mr. Trump was elected president, this policy appeared to be on the brink of change. Weeks after the 2016 election, Mr. Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. That broke with decades of U.S. policy of the president or president-elect not communicating directly with Taiwan’s leader and infuriated the Chinese government. After taking office, Mr. Trump focused on developing a better trade arrangement with China—albeit through the use of punitive tariffs, which he believes to be an effective compliance mechanism—and Taiwan took a back seat. But many within the administration, including foreign policy hawks, view closer ties with Taiwan as essential for U.S. national security interests in Asia, mainly as a counterpoint to Chinese aggression, and have pursued this policy throughout Mr. Trump’s time in office. Then in March a year ago, Taiwan was back on the president’s radar—in a very different light. Mr. Trump’s trade tit-for-tat with China had begun, and he was eager to get the Chinese to the table. Beijing was already furious over a law signed by Mr. Trump that encourages the U.S. to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa. Mr. Trump got word that a State Department diplomat, Alex Wong, had traveled to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, to communicate the Trump administration’s commitment to closer ties with the island. Mr. Trump sounded off to his aides. “Who the f— is this guy?” he lashed out, referring to Mr. Wong, and questioned what U.S. diplomats were doing in Taiwan, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussion. The president requested that no American diplomats travel to Taiwan while he is working on a deal with China. Mr. Wong serves as deputy assistant secretary for North Korea in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He is also the deputy special representative for North Korea. While in Taipei in March last year, Mr. Wong communicated America’s strong U.S. commitment to Taiwan and described the island as an inspiration to the rest of the Indo-Pacific region. Mr. Wong, the State Department and the White House didn’t respond to requests for comment. Warmer relations continued to grow with Taiwan, despite the president’s objections, according to multiple current and former administration officials. Regional tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea have flared up in recent months, and Mr. Trump’s national security aides, as well as many Republican lawmakers, see closer U.S. ties to Taiwan as imperative to regional security. Aides explained to Mr. Trump the strategic importance of Taiwan, the officials said, persuading him that a stronger U.S. presence there counters any plans by China to expand its influence beyond the mainland. Many Republicans also view support for Taiwan’s budding democracy as a policy priority. It took some convincing, but Mr. Trump came around, the officials said, and he now sees the value in using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in his talks with China. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. And the administration is growing increasingly vocal in its support for Taiwan. Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter in April that “Chinese military provocation won’t win any hearts or minds in Taiwan, but they will strengthen the resolve of people everywhere who value democracy.” Mr. Bolton also hosted Taiwan’s national security chief, David Lee, last month, marking the first public visit to Washington of its kind since the two countries ended formal diplomatic ties in 1979. Typically, the foreign military sales process begins when a country submits a formal letter of request that specifies a desired military capability and a rough price. The State Department manages the process, in close partnership with the Defense Department, which works with U.S. defense contractors. Sales are approved after U.S. government review and congressional notification, when required. Taiwan’s defense ministry has asked for 108 cutting-edge M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 TOW antiarmor missiles, 409 Javelin antitank missiles and 250 Stinger man-portable air defense systems—all defensive weapons that can’t reach the Chinese mainland. An informal notification of the proposed sale was sent to Congress earlier this month. A sale isn’t currently expected to receive any pushback on Capitol Hill. Responding to news of the pending sale, China’s foreign ministry spokesman said, “We urge the U.S. to fully understand the high sensitivity and serious harm of the issue of arms sales to Taiwan and abide by the One China principle.” Taiwan has also requested more than 60 F-16 jet fighters, an order that may face significant hurdles. Officials say that it’s the latter deal that, while good for the U.S. economy, could deal a serious blow to the U.S.-China relationship because jets can reach the mainland. “There is growing anxiety in China that the administration is really pushing the envelope and no longer adhering to any sense of maintaining an unofficial relationship with Taiwan and maybe even moving toward abandoning the One China policy,” said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The only way you get through to this president is to do it in person,” she added. “If Xi Jinping wants to register his complaints about the Taiwan weapons, he needs to do it in person.”

Arms sales to Taiwan undermine Taiwan’s own defense industrial base and aren’t what is needed

Ralph Grady, 6-17, 19, https://www.voanews.com/east-asia/resist-or-engage-old-foe-china-focus-taiwans-presidential-race To Resist or Engage Old Foe China: Focus of Taiwan’s Presidential Race

A pending sale of F-16 fighters, Abrams tanks, anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles, to Taiwan drew rebukes from Beijing but also set off alarms on the island about its ability retain talent and develop home-made defenses, one of its leading security experts said Wednesday. I-Chung Lai, president of the Taiwan-based Prospect Foundation, said the large arms, aircraft and ship sales of the 1980s and again in the 1990s inadvertently set off “a brain drain” from the island and threatened its defense industrial base. “Our capabilities and talents started to filter away” to Korea, he said while speaking at the Heritage Foundation. Shipbuilders and engineers started working for businesses and industries in Korea that were direct competitors with Taiwan but also “filtered into civilian industries,” especially in technology where the island’s expertise is well-respected. “How can we avoid these things happening again,” Lai asked? Aside from considering what such sales do to the Taiwanese industrial base, another question is whether these the right weapons Taipei needs to defend itself from an aggressive Beijing. Scott Harald, from RAND’s Asia-Pacific policy center, said the danger is Taiwan’s believing it needs a “one to one” match with China in weapons and systems. Instead, Harald suggested the island needs “dynamic, agile, survivable, lethal” forces, not necessarily airfields and ports that would be subject to long-range Chinese missile or air strikes, to deter or defend against an all-out assault. Taiwan should consider truck-based anti-ship missile systems, air-launched cruise missiles, mines, helicopters armed with anti-armor missiles to attack landing craft, fast attack missile boats “over big shiny thing” that costs billions, Harald said. Taiwan also needs to decide what type of submarine is necessary; one built domestically or bought overseas. Meanwhile, Taiwan needs to assess the current and future levels of military threats. China already operates its navy east of Taiwan and routinely flies strike aircraft around the island. Taiwan must understand whether China could mount a cross-strait invasion and provocations and incidents similar to the late 1970s confrontations between China and Vietnam. Taiwan also needs to understand Beijing’s short-term goals beyond Taiwan and determine President’s Xi Jin-ping’s timeline for achieving reunification with the mainland, Harald and Lai said. “Is the fight primarily in the heads of people?” of Taiwanese citizens, leaders of foreign nations and international organizations, Harald asked. Szu-chien Hsu, Taiwan’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, said Beijing’s military intent is clear and it is “breaking through the First Island Chain,” closest to mainland China to achieve its “very evident … global strategic ambitions” of being the leading superpower.

News presidential election, US support of Tsai boosts her politically. Abandoning proposed arms sales agreements would obviously be a signal of declining support

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

TAIPEI – The Taiwan ruling party’s expected nomination this week of Beijing-wary incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen for a second term in office will kick off a campaign season highlighted by the island’s sticky, increasingly strained ties with China. Tsai won’t talk to officials in Beijing unless the Communist government drops its demand that she identifies Taiwan as part of a single China. The 62-year-old law scholar first elected in 2016 is expected to run with the Democratic Progressive Party against an opposition Nationalist Party candidate who favors more engagement with Beijing. Their views would shape a campaign that will last until Taiwanese go to the polls in January. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, when the Nationalists lost to the Communists and re-based their government on the nearby island. China insists that the two sides eventually unify. Taiwan democratized in the 1980s and in January a government poll found that about 80% of Taiwanese oppose unification with Beijing. “Taiwan’s people will become more opposed to China, more opposed to the Communist Party government, so they will end up being more opposed to candidates from the Nationalist Party,” said Michael Tsai, chairman of the Institute for Taiwan Defense and Strategic Studies in Taiwan. “Will ballots be cast for the Democratic Progressive Party then? I think there’s got to be some effect.” But many voters also want strong economic ties with China. Tsai’s party takes a guarded stance toward China and has never sat down for talks, while the Nationalists have a record of dialogue with China on trade and investment ties. Leading campaign issue China has always been a focus of politics in Taiwan, but this year the topic took on extra weight because of a landmark pro-unification speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at Taiwan, and mass street protests in Hong Kong against elements of growing Chinese control over the former British colony that’s sometimes watched as a bellwether for what would happen if China took over Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool) Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Taiwan’s ties with the United States, a former Cold War foe of China, grew more intense last year under Tsai and U.S. President Donald Trump. That trend raises Tsai’s image among Taiwanese voters, while angering Beijing.

Difference between the political parties

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

It is imperative that Washington supports Taiwan in its battle to remain independent of China. There are potent opportunities to do so before Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections in 2020—without America interfering in those elections. Taiwan has two primary political parties: the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT). The KMT leans towards unification with China, while the DPP prefers independence. The DPP currently controls Taiwan’s executive and legislative branches, and thus presides over the country’s lackluster economy.

President Tsai turns the deisal subs advantage – she wants to build them

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

As expected, President Tsai has been less pro-China than her KMT predecessor. For instance, she has not endorsed the 1992 Consensus—an agreement between the KMT and Beijing that Taiwan is part of China, with each side supposedly able to determine which entity governs China. Moreover, she initiated a telephone conversation with President-elect Trump—the first time that a U.S. president or president-elect spoke directly with a Taiwanese president since those countries severed formal diplomatic ties in 1979. Also, Taiwan recently broke ground on its first facility to build submarines, which will be used to thwart any Chinese naval attacks. Further, President Tsai has sought closer economic and military ties to Japan, which is China’s long-time rival. (KMT). The KMT leans towards unification with China, while the DPP prefers independence. The DPP currently controls Taiwan’s executive and legislative branches, and thus presides over the country’s lackluster economy.

Tsai losing magnifies the link beyond the loss of the arms sale articulated in the plan – KMT party will kill arms sales

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

Irrespective of which party governs Taiwan, Washington should support Taipei’s independence from China. The United States has many tools to fortify Taiwanese freedom, including greater arms sales, joint military exercises, a free-trade agreement, and high-level political visits. KMT officials are more likely to dilute or reject these measures in order to accommodate China. But DPP politicians are more likely to embrace these measures to empower Taiwan to stand up to China.

China squeezing Taiwan and threatening it

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

In response, China has squeezed Taiwan since President Tsai took office. First, Beijing cut diplomatic contact with Taipei and convinced five countries to switch their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Second, China compelled forty-four airlines to remove Taiwan as a displayed country on their websites. Third, by November 2018, Beijing reduced Chinese tourism to Taiwan by over 41 percent. Fourth, China has stepped up efforts to lure Taiwan’s most talented students, engineers, and scientists to China with outsized financial incentives. This brain drain threatens Taiwan’s economy. Fifth, China has ramped up intimidating military activities near the island and, most recently, Beijing sent fighter jets across the center of the Taiwan Strait—the first time in twenty years.

Answer – Tsai low in the polls now

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

Meanwhile, President Tsai was polling at 24 percent following the November elections. After criticizing President Xi’s speech and championing Taiwanese independence, her approval rating climbed nearly eleven points. That gain was short-lived, however. President Tsai’s approval rating has dropped below 30 percent, and recent polls show her trailing KMT presidential candidates by double digits. On top of this, she faces a primary challenger—the first time a Taiwanese president has confronted a primary. All of this happened while Taiwan’s quarterly export orders dropped 8.4 percent from the previous year—the country’s largest first-quarter slide since 2009.

DPP needs to win to deter Taiwan

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

The resolve of Taiwan’s leaders over the next several years is especially important given that President Xi is more likely than his predecessors to take bold steps to unify China and Taiwan. After all, invading Taiwan appears more feasible to China given that (1) the gap between those countries’ military capabilities has grown dramatically; (2) America and its regional partners have not seriously resisted President Xi’s aggressive foreign policy; and (3) China has developed weapons to inhibit other countries from accessing the airspace and waters around Taiwan. Moreover, time is not on China’s side as support for unification continues to dwindle among the Taiwanese. Finally, President Xi has publicly taken a tough line on unification, and he faces no term limits or serious political rivals that would inhibit his plans. The United States, therefore, has an interest in the DPP winning Taiwan’s elections in 2020. (In time, however, Taiwanese public opinion and China’s visible encroaching on Hong Kong’s sovereignty may force the KMT to shift towards the DPP’s position on cross-Strait relations.)

Relations advantage answer — China will never cooperate on Korea – it fears regime collapse

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

Similarly, Washington will not convince Beijing to sanction Pyongyang hard enough to force it to denuclearize, because that pressure would risk regime collapse followed by a unified Korea that is allied with America. China fears that prospect more than the possibility of North Korea attacking it. Indeed, each year, the United Nations details North Korea’s violations of Security Council sanctions, including Pyongyang’s procurement of products that keep the Kim regime intact. Those reports identify China as a top accomplice in North Korea’s illicit conduct in the year ending this past February. But such bad press did not deter Beijing, however, as China and North Korea just opened a new border crossing, which signals their plans for greater economic engagement in violation of UN sanctions.

Efforts to improve relations with China did not reduce China’s aggression

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trade-tussle-america-needs-capitalize-its-relationship-taiwan-62212

That Beijing would refuse to cooperate with Washington even if Washington limits its support for Taipei is not merely hypothetical. The Obama administration tread lightly with Taiwan, including by withholding new weapons from the island longer than all prior administrations since 1979. President Barack Obama’s administration also publicly criticized Tsai during her presidential run because Washington had “distinct doubts” about her willingness “to continue the stability in cross-Strait relations the region has enjoyed in recent years” when the KMT was in office. Finally, under Obama, Washington also reduced the U.S. naval presence in the Taiwan Strait. Yet, during this period, China was at its most aggressive, developing powerful offensive weapons. Beijing also broke President Xi’s promises that China would cease economic cyberespionage against America and not militarize its man-made islands in the South China Sea. Besides, if Washington today were to execute a free-trade agreement with Taiwan after China has pledged assistance on commercial and denuclearization matters, Beijing would then use the free-trade agreement to justify backing out of its promises.