To checkmate China's aggression, Taiwan needs effective diplomatic strategy
Taiwan cannot rely totally on the United States for its security. The US policy towards Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act (1979) and the three Joint Communiques.
Last week, top US envoy for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink told the media that communist China might ramp up its military, diplomatic and economic "coercion" of democratic Taiwan. Referring to the air and sea exercises, the Chinese military has staged after the recent visits of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation to the self-ruled island, he said, "These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign... to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience."
Observers say the apprehensions voiced by Kritenbrink cannot be ruled out. Communist China continues to claim the democratically ruled island as part of its territory to be seized one day - by force if necessary. Taiwan needs to keep itself diplomatically engaged with important powers, including the United States and Japan, to checkmate any possible Chinese aggression.
More importantly, Taipei needs build as strong a deterrent as possible against communist China.
Taiwan cannot rely totally on the United States for its security. The US policy towards Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act (1979) and the three Joint Communiques. Washington's focus has had been only on one dimension of the TRA: providing Taiwan with arms of a defensive character. Like previous administrations in Washington, the Joe Biden presidency has declined to commit the United States to resisting any Chinese resort to force or other forms of "coercion" against Taiwan.
When China threatened Taiwan militarily in 1995 and 1996, then the Bill Clinton administration paid the TRA the least deference. Then Assistant Secretary Joseph Nye said, "We don't know... what the US would do if China attacked Taiwan..." In 1997 President Clinton told the Voice of America, "The Taiwan question can only be settled by the Chinese themselves peacefully."
During his visit to Beijing in 1998, President Clinton ignored the TRA at the US Institute of Peace in 1999, saying, "We've maintained our strong, unofficial ties to a democratic Taiwan while upholding our one China policy."
The Biden administration has so far been unenthusiastic about the draft of the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act. The proposed act "authorizes the President to use the Armed Forces to defend Taiwan against a direct attack by China's military, a taking of Taiwan's territory by China, or a threat that endangers the lives of civilians in Taiwan or members of Taiwan's military."
The bill also "directs the Department of Defense to convene an annual regional security dialogue with Taiwan and other partners to improve US security relationships with countries in the Western Pacific."
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
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