By Yimou Lee and David Brunnstrom TAIPEI, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Chinese and Taiwanese warships played high-seas “cat and mouse” on Sunday, hours before the scheduled end of four days of unprecedented…
Despite China’s recent aggression toward Taiwan, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster argued this week that Taiwan “not an easy military problem” for Beijing to solve. Speaking during a Hudson Institute online forum on Thursday, the retired Army lieutenant general added that Taipei could be difficult to attack across the 100-mile wide, often stormy Taiwan […]
Despite China’s recent aggression toward Taiwan, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster argued this week that Taiwan “not an easy military problem” for Beijing to solve.
Speaking during a Hudson Institute online forum on Thursday, the retired Army lieutenant general added that Taipei could be difficult to attack across the 100-mile wide, often stormy Taiwan Strait. It’s a matter of “capability and will.”
To protest House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) 19-hour visit this week to the self-governing island, Beijing fired missiles into Japanese waters, sent military aircraft into Taipei’s air defense identification zone and conducted large-scale live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
But all these escalating military moves from the People’s Republic of China is a “signal to the world” that Beijing could blockade or invade Taiwan, said Patrick Cronin, Hudson’s Asia-Pacific chair. He mentioned threats by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Pelosi’s visit could lead to a slippery slope of conflict as a means of intimidating other nations.
Wang, speaking at an Association of South East Asians Nations event on Wednesday, termed Pelosi’s visit “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational.”
McMaster said he hopes that the Chinese actions give the United States a “sense of urgency when it comes to Taiwan’s future and how important the Indo-Pacific is to the United States militarily and economically.
Steps that Taiwan can take – like lengthening the time Taiwanese conscripted reservists spend on active duty, creating a territorial defense force and improving joint training for active and reserve forces – would improve Taiwan’s deterrence by denial, McMaster said.
Two years ago, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said her administration increased defense spending to 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product and was very interested in buying asymmetric defense systems ranging from mines to anti-ship missiles, as well as modernizing force structure. In the past, Taiwan had looked to the U.S. for big-ticket items like fighter aircraft to block Chinese ambitions. Its parliament approved a special $8.6 billion appropriation earlier this year in the face of Chinese naval and air incursions during the winter.
Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow at Hudson, said the time for Taipei to spend on military equipment and receive it is now. It would be far more difficult to supply Taiwan if the Chinese invaded the island, as it has been to come to Ukraine’s aid using highways and rail following the Russian invasion earlier this year, she said.
So far, McMaster has been encouraged by “Taiwan’s will” in resisting escalating pressures of a possible blockade of the island. He added that such a blockade would disrupt not only the island’s economy but also global trade in the Indo-Pacific. McMaster said a key Chinese objective is to isolate Japan from its allies and partners, which could happen under a Beijing-controlled Taiwan.
“Japan has been a real source of strength” in standing up to China over Taiwan’s future, he said. McMaster said nations in ASEAN could learn from Tokyo’s example. “The choice they’re facing is sovereignty or servitude” if they accept China as the final arbiter regionally.
Not surprisingly, “Russia has come to China’s position in this” escalation of tensions, Heinrichs added.
McMaster compared it to the 1930s, “almost like Hitler’s playbook” of authoritarian coercion in Europe and the Pacific. He said Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin believe that together “we will rewrite the rules” because the U.S. and its allies are weak.
For the U.S. and its allies, “it is a period of trial … to maintain resolve” as they are showing in Ukraine, he said.
Heinrichs added that Pelosi’s visit should be a “reassurance to allies” of America’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific. She added that Taipei welcomed the speaker “with open arms” and a bipartisan Congress at home supported her visit. Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan when he was speaker in the late 1990s.
The Trump Administration opened the door for more high-level U.S. official visits to Taiwan after decades following U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China in the 1970s.
She added that the speaker’s stopover was not the rejection of the United States’ “One China Policy,” as Beijing claimed.
“The Biden administration must embrace this visit” and “make sure there is no appearance of daylight” between the speaker and the White House and Pentagon, she said. Earlier, President Joe Biden warned of consequences that might arise over such a visit.
Heinrichs said Pelosi “holds a critical office” and showed courage in visiting Taiwan that can help Americans understand what is at stake in the Indo-Pacific for democracy and the world’s economy.
By Sarah Zheng 1(Bloomberg) — China will conduct large-scale military drills and missile tests around Taiwan in a defiant show of force after House speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking US…
Tensions rise ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s trip after a US Aircraft Carrier group positioned itself east of Taiwan and several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line dividing the…
USS Benfold (DDG-65) transited the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, less than a week after its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea irked the Chinese government. Benfold‘s transit comes three days after it sailed near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as part of a freedom of navigation operation, U.S. 7th Fleet […]
USS Benfold (DDG-65) transited the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, less than a week after its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea irked the Chinese government.
Benfold‘s transit comes three days after it sailed near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as part of a freedom of navigation operation, U.S. 7th Fleet said in a press release last week.
“This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging restrictions on innocent passage imposed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Vietnam, and Taiwan,” according to the 7th Fleet statement.
Benfold sailed near the Paracel Islands last week, prompting ire from Beijing, which sent People’s Liberation Army Navy frigate Xianning (500) to monitor the U.S. destroyer, USNI News previously reported.
It is not clear if Beijing monitored Benfold again.
The warship’s operations in the South China Sea have caused China to claim the U.S. is being hypocritical in their policies, according to a People’s Daily story on the recent operations. China is holding maritime exercises in the South China Sea from Sunday to Wednesday, according to the same story.
Benfold followed international law in operating around the Spratly Islands, according to the 7th Fleet statement.
“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations,” according to the statement.
Benfold is part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which was operating in the South China Sea, according to USNI News’ Fleet Tracker.
SHANGHAI, June 25 (Reuters) – China’s military said on Saturday that the recent fly through of a U.S. maritime plane through the Taiwan Strait deliberately disrupted the regional situation and endangered peace…
By Peter Martin and Jennifer Jacobs (Bloomberg) –Biden administration officials have decided to reject a vague new assertion by China that the Taiwan Strait is not “international waters” and are increasingly…
TAIPEI, June 14 (Reuters) – The Taiwan Strait is an international waterway and Taiwan’s government supports U.S. warships transiting it, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, rebuffing claims from China to exercise…
By Peter Martin Jun 12, 2022, (Bloomberg) –Chinese military officials in recent months have repeatedly asserted that the Taiwan Strait isn’t international waters during meetings with US counterparts, according to a person familiar…
Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73) transitioned the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, the Navy announced in a release. Port Royal, homeported in Hawaii, conducted a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait, according to a 7th Fleet release. The cruiser, one of the Ticonderoga-class slated to exit the fleet in five years, went through a corridor in the […]
Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73) transitioned the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, the Navy announced in a release.
Port Royal, homeported in Hawaii, conducted a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait, according to a 7th Fleet release. The cruiser, one of the Ticonderoga-class slated to exit the fleet in five years, went through a corridor in the strait that is not part of territorial sea of a coastal state, according to the release.
The strait transit was done in accordance with international law.
“Port Royal‘s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to the release. “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”
This is the second Taiwan Strait transit completed by a U.S. naval ship in the past two weeks. USS Sampson (DDG-102) went through the strait on April 26, USNI News previously reported.
The strait transit in April was also a routine operation, according to the 7th Fleet release for Sampson.
China, which has previously raised concerns about U.S. naval ships transitioning the straits did not immediately comment on Port Royal‘s passage through the strait. It did raise issue with Sampson‘s transit, Stars and Stripes reported.
China recently conducted exercises near Taiwan, from May 6 to8, according to China Military, the English-language paper of the Chinese military.