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Taiwanese tensions raise fears of US-China conflict in Asia

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From the American perspective, the concept of a major power rivalry with China has pushed this on the agenda, said Henry Boyd, a UK-based defense analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The need to confront China is a fairly strong motivating factor that rejecting this war would also be seen as a betrayal of American national interests.

China claims that Taiwan is its own and control of the island is a key component of Beijing’s political and military thinking. Leader Xi Jinping at the weekend reiterated that the reunification of the nation must be accomplished and that a goal made more realistic with massive improvements in China’s armed forces over the past two decades will definitely be realized.

In response, the US has increased support for Taiwan and more broadly shifted its focus to the Indo-Pacific region. US State Department spokesman Ned Price stressed on Tuesday that US support for Taiwan is strong, saying we have also been very clear that we are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan.

Washington’s old policy has been to provide political and military support to Taiwan, by not expressly promising to protect it from a Chinese attack.

Both sides were probably closest to the strikes in 1996, when China, angered by what it saw as increased US support for Taiwan, decided to flex its muscles with exercises involving launching missiles into water about 30 kilometers ( 20 miles) from Taiwan coast before the first popular elections in Taiwan.

The United States responded with its show of force, sending two aircraft carrier groups to the region. At the time, China had no aircraft carriers and few vehicles to threaten American ships, and withdrew.

Struck by the episode, China began a massive overhaul of its military, and 25 years later, it has significantly improved missile defense that could easily hit, and equipped or built its own aircraft carriers.

A recent U.S. Department of Defense report to Congress noted that in 2000, he described China’s armed forces as a substantial but largely archaic military, but today it is a rival, having already surpassed the U.S. military in several areas, including shipbuilding to the point where it now has the largest navy in the world.

Ship counting is not the best way to compare capabilities, the US Navy has 11 transport aircraft in China two, for example, but in the event of a conflict over Taiwan, China would be able to deploy almost the entirety of its forces naval, and also had land -Ship-based anti-ship missiles to add to the war, said Boyd, a co-author of the IISSs Annual Military Balance Assessment of the global armed forces.

The concept of China’s operations with respect to Taiwan is that if they can delay the US presence in the war, or limit the number they are able to put to war because they were able to keep their assets ahead at a level of risk, they can defeat the Taiwanese before the Americans show up strong enough to do anything about it, he said.

Taiwan’s strategy is the mirror image that delays China as long as the US and its allies emerge in power. It has its own considerable military strength and the advantage of fighting on its own ground. A recent policy paper also notes the need for asymmetric measures, which could include things like rocket attacks on mainland China ammunition or fuel dumps.

Taiwan’s defense’s assessment of China’s capabilities, presented to parliament in August and received by The Associated Press, says China already has the capacity to seal Taiwan’s ports and airports, but currently lacks transportation and logistical support for large-scale joint landing operations, although it is improving day by day.

In a new strategic policy guide last week, U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro identified China as the most important long-term challenge.

For the first time in at least a generation, we have a strategic competitor who possesses naval capabilities that rival ours, and who seeks to aggressively use its forces to challenge U.S. principles, partnerships and prosperity, the newspaper said.

China, on National Day weekend earlier this month, sent a record 149 military aircraft to southwestern Taiwan in strike group formations in international airspace but in the buffer zone of the islands, prompting Taiwan to fight its defense .

On Monday, China announced it had conducted landing and attack exercises on the beach in the mainland province opposite Taiwan.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the mainland Taiwan’s Affairs Office, justified the actions as necessary, saying on Wednesday that they had been provoked by Taiwan’s independence forces by cooperating with outside forces.

“Every step of the way, the Chinese are trying to change the status quo and normalize the situation through this salami cut,” said Hoo Tiang Boon, program coordinator for China at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. They know that Taiwan can not do everything about it, and the danger is that there is a possibility of miscalculations or accidents.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 amid a civil war, with Chiang Kai-sheks nationalists fleeing the island as communists Mao Zedong came to power.

In a white defense letter of 2019, Beijing said it defends the country’s peaceful reunification, a phrase repeated by Xi over the weekend, but is also clear in his intentions.

China needs and will reunite, the newspaper said. We do not promise to give up the use of force and reserve the opportunity to take all necessary measures.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, meanwhile, has made possible more global support, writing in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine that if Taiwan fell, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.

“A failure to defend Taiwan would not be catastrophic for Taiwanese alone,” she wrote. This will overturn a security architecture that has allowed peace and tremendous economic development in the region for seven decades.

U.S. law requires it to assist Taiwan in maintaining a defense capability and to treat threats to the island as a matter of great concern.

Washington has recently acknowledged that US special forces are on the island in a training capability and it has stepped up multinational maneuvers in the region as part of a declared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. They included a drill involving 17 ships from six US Navies, Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand off the Japanese island of Okinawa earlier this month.

The so-called Quad group of nations, the United States, Australia, India and Japan were concluding joint exercises in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday, which the Japanese Defense Ministry said showed their determination to uphold fundamental values ​​such as democracy and rule. of law.

Washington also signed an agreement last month in cooperation with Britain to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which China said would seriously undermine regional peace and stability.

The Americans are trying to bring the Allies to a united front, Hoo said. There is a growing internationalization of the Taiwan issue.

For now, neither side’s armed forces feel fully prepared for a conflict over Taiwan, but in the end it may not be their decision, Boyd said.

“It will not depend on the military,” he said. It will depend on politicians.

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