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Chinese dragon may fume as much but won't spit fire on Taiwan

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Google Oneindia News

Militarily, Taiwan is powerful enough to defend itself. It has about 2.3 million military reservists. It has some logistical advantages against any potential invasion.

In the wake of United States House of Representatives Speaker Nany Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this Wednesday, the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command has begun live-firing drills in the regions surrounding Taiwan, a self-ruled nation the communist country considers its own part. Will it lead to a full-fledged Chinese invasion of the democratic island nation to annex the latter?

Observers say Beijing cannot dare to take on Taipei militarily. Speaker Pelosi has been highly critical of communist China-its policies in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in particular. Beijing might be apprehending the Pelosi visit would encourage the self-ruled island nation to declare its independence from China.

China conducted precision missile strikes Thursday in waters off Taiwans coasts as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to their highest level in decades following a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the wake of Pelosi's visit , China has hence fired multiple missiles towards waters near north-eastern and southwestern Taiwan. It has sent more than 20 fighter jets across the median line in the Taiwan Strait. China has deployed two of its most powerful warships-Type 55 destroyers-off the central and south-eastern coast of the island. These drills have involved some of China's newest and most sophisticated weaponry, including J-20 stealth fighters and DF-17 hypersonic missiles.

China, Pak can play 'friends' but India has larger plans to expose themChina, Pak can play 'friends' but India has larger plans to expose them

Beijing has taken such steps just to warn Taiwan against taking any move towards its independence. The communist leadership in the country needs to convey to its domestic constituency that it is committed to protect China's territorial integrity.

The pattern of communist China's foreign policy behaviour suggests Beijing would not let the Pelosi visit escalate into a military clash with Taipei. In 1997, then US Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the island nation. This did not lead to any fatal fiction in the Taiwan Strait.

China seems to be aware that launching a war against the island nation might not be rewarding at all. This would adversely affect its growing economic ties with Taiwan. Last year, Taiwan's exports to China reached USD188.9 billion. China today is Taiwan's largest export partner. Over 3 million Taiwanese live and work in mainland China.

Militarily, Taiwan is powerful enough to defend itself. It has approximately 88,000 active-duty personnel. It has about 2.3 million military reservists. It has some logistical advantages against any potential invasion. It does not have easy landing sites for any invaders. Taiwan's eastern coast is mountainous and rocky.

Besides, Washington may come to Taipei's rescue if Beijing invades it. The US Taiwan Relations Act, requires Washington to provide Taipei with the means to defend itself. If the US decides to assist in the defence of Taiwan, the US Air Force could take off from the Okinawa and reach Taiwan in less than an hour. During her short stay in Taipei, Speaker Pelosi in an address reiterated that US "will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan."

China using my Taiwan visit as 'an excuse' for military drills: Nancy PelosiChina using my Taiwan visit as 'an excuse' for military drills: Nancy Pelosi

The United States is unlikely to allow China to control Taiwan and affect ship traffic in the South China Sea. Besides, in case of any war by China on Taiwan, Japan may not sit idle. Tokyo views Taipei crucial to peace and development in the region.

The observers add New Delhi has done well to maintain a studied silence on the current Taiwan crisis. New Delhi has ceased to reference the "One-China" policy since 2010. The dominant thinking in India today seems to be that there is no need to reiterate the One-China policy. China is not being considerate about India's territorial sensitivities. Beijing continues to claim Arunachal Pradesh as a part of the Chinese territory. It has renamed some of the Arunachal towns in its own language. It has been issuing "stapled visas" to Indian citizens who are residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.

(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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