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Storm Clouds Loom for Taiwan

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2023
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by Andrew Shirley
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24 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley

taiwan and china flags

With China escalating its military aggression in the South Pacific, domestic political turmoil throughout the West, and pivotal Taiwanese elections next month, Beijing may see a golden opportunity to make its move on Taiwan.

Last week, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announced that a Chinese naval fleet had been spotted sailing through the Taiwan Strait – an unusually aggressive move by Beijing. A week prior, Taiwanese officials also said that China had conducted a rare night mission over the contested waters.

China has long asserted complete sovereignty over the strait, a claim disputed by Taiwan and the United States. While the Chinese ships and planes remained on their side of the boundary line established by the U.S., it nonetheless marked another escalation of Chinese displays of force.

The military maneuvers sent a wave of unease across Taiwan less than a month before the island nation is set to hold presidential and parliamentary elections.

Taiwanese officials have repeatedly warned that Beijing is engaged in multiple efforts to influence the outcome of the contests, including both overt military threats like sending its navy within sight of the Taiwanese coastline and sowing confusion and discord among Taiwanese voters through online propaganda campaigns.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was confirmed to an unprecedented third five-year term earlier this year, has made reunification with Taiwan, which broke away from Mainland China in 1949, a top priority. In September, Xi described “complete reunification” as “inevitable” and hinted at possible military action.

Intelligence sources have previously said that Xi has plans to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Currently, Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai, of the pro-independence DPP party is leading in the polls. The Xi administration is actively working to promote the candidacy of his opponent, Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang Party.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) who chairs the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, has said that Hou is a “puppet candidate” who would be entirely controlled by China if elected. China, meanwhile, has been spreading the narrative both online and through its state-controlled media that Lai is a puppet of the United States.

Experts on the Taiwan-China conflict have warned that if Lai wins, Xi could make his move on Taiwan shortly after. Given that Lai could remain in office until 2032 – when Xi is nearly 80 – the Chinese leader could fear that his chance for reunification by peaceful means is slipping away and resort to military action.

“Xi wants to outshine the legacy of Deng Xiaoping, who paved the way for Hong Kong’s handover to China, by unifying China and Taiwan,” Chao Chun-shan, a professor emeritus at Taiwan’s Tamkang University, told Nikkei Asia, a prominent Japanese news outlet. “Because [Xi] doesn’t have too much time left, he cannot accept a victory by the independence-minded Lai.”

But as the threat from China continues to grow, domestic political turmoil in Washington is hampering all-important aid to the island nation.

Led by Joe Biden, congressional Democrats have conditioned aid for Taiwan and Israel on passage of billions more in aid for Ukraine, with the White House backing a $106 billion package. While Senate Republicans have indicated that they are open to Biden’s bill as long as measures for U.S. border security are also attached, Democrats have thus far balked at the compromise.

This standoff likely has done little to assuage the fears of Taiwanese leaders following a series of foreign policy debacles under the Biden administration. China for its part has used Biden’s disasters to undermine Taiwanese confidence in U.S. support and will no doubt attempt to do so again.

Following the disastrous evacuation from Afghanistan in 2021, for instance, the Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet, ran an editorial openly stating that the fiasco proves that Taiwan cannot count on America. “From what happened in Afghanistan, [the DPP] should perceive that once a war breaks out in the [Taiwan Strait], the island’s defense will collapse in hours, and the U.S. military won’t come to help,” the article read. “As a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has given Taiwanese authorities further reason to believe that the United States cannot deter its adversaries under Biden’s leadership. Even as the West has shunned Russia, Beijing and Moscow have grown closer with virtually no pushback from Washington.

Biden’s decision to roll out the red carpet for Xi in San Francisco last month has also given Taiwan little reason to believe that this White House will stand up to China. While Republicans and even many congressional Democrats have taken a hardline stance toward Beijing, Biden has seemed more interested in making concessions in order to encourage Chinese compliance with the left’s environmental agenda.

All of these factors mean that Taiwan could be entering a uniquely dangerous moment in its history – something which, given the United States’ reliance on Taiwanese semiconductors and other high-tech products, could quickly become a dangerous situation for Americans as well.

While the Taiwan-China conflict is currently taking a back seat to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, it could explode at any time into the most pressing issue facing the U.S. and the world.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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PaulE
PaulE
3 months ago

China’s President Xi is NOT stupid nor a fool. He looks at the dysfunctional Biden administration creating one fiasco after another (some intentionally to promote their socialist agenda and some simply through total incompetence) and sees a United States both unfocused and unprepared to engage China on any level either diplomatically or militarily. All while China is permitted to do as it pleases without consequences around the world. Why wouldn’t China see this as a golden opportunity to simply take Taiwan and secure 60 to 70 percent of the world’s total chip manufacturing capacity? Did they pay any price for unleashing Covid on the world? No. If anything, they have ended up in a better position after the fact. President Xi has watched both the United States’s reaction, as well as the reaction of other major western nations over the last 3 years and sees all the vulnerabilities of not only us, but our allies. For Xi, the decision on whether to take Taiwan has very little downside with any Democrat in the White House. On the plus side for China would be the immediate changing os the balance of world power on many levels for decades to come in their favor. After all, between China and Taiwan, President Xi would essentially control the world’s manufacturing capability for all the crucial chips needed to run the modern world.

The Biden administration just keeps sending signals of how rutter less the United States is on both the foreign and domestic stages each and every day. While half the American population may not be paying attention or understand the consequences associated with that, every major world leader certainly does. Is it any real wonder why all these international issues are popping up all around the world? Elections have consequences and in the case of China and Taiwan, we are looking at a potential economic event that could cripple all the major world economies overnight and make the world hostage to communist China.

sdg
sdg
3 months ago

2024 will be America’s end, there will be no election, we will surrender to China period.
The news media will live it up and the demoncrats will rule over us for the foreseeable future.
Dissenters will be persecuted and eliminated. This includes conservatives & especially Christians.
Come soon Lord Jesus.

Ryan Michaels
Ryan Michaels
3 months ago

Despots recognize weakness in a country very easily and Biden/ Harris are prime examples.

Morbious
Morbious
3 months ago

The main goal of the treason party is to weaken this country. According to that metric biden has been a resounding success.

Bill Smith
Bill Smith
3 months ago

Xi will invade Taiwan in 2024, just in time for Biden to ignore it.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
3 months ago

Taiwan is a concern… in the future… but RIGHT NOW! China continues military aggression against the Republic of the Philippines over Spratley Island because they think they have a 1000-mile coastal zone. Google Map it: if Spratley were any closer to PI it would be a suburb of Manilla; China isn’t even close! And what has Biden done to help an ally? Same thing he’s done for our security: NOTHING!

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
3 months ago

yeah biden screwed that up too.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
3 months ago

Go to Defcon 2 Taiwan Now

NeilRK
NeilRK
3 months ago

China will not get the chip manufacturing or any other industry. It will all be setup for demolition if the Chinese troops make a landing.

Jimmy P
Jimmy P
3 months ago

How about we start accepting hardworking, law-abiding Taiwanese immigrants NOW?

John
John
3 months ago

No one country fears the Socialist Democratic Party, they are weak and stupid! In fact they are so stupid that China will take over America cause of their stupidity!

Thinking
Thinking
3 months ago

All this maneuvering is ole Joe’s contribution to starting a third world war. Klaus Schwab has said as much. If no third world war is started then a cyber attack will happen next year so large there will be no power anywhere in the world. People will starve because transportation of food will be stopped. It is the new world order.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
3 months ago

Why cant we make our own chips. ??? Kyle L.

David Campbell
David Campbell
3 months ago

“…has made reunification with Taiwan, which broke away from Mainland China in 1949,…”
False narrative. Taiwan did not “break away” from mainland China. There was civil war in China before, during, and after WW2. Unfortunately the communist forces under Mao prevailed, and Chang Kei Sheck’s (I’m sure I butcherd the spelling) forces retreated to Taiwan, which was part of their territory. The Communist forces did not have the means to make a landing across the sea, so, technically, the civil war was not completed and Taiwan has operated as a sovereign nation ever since. I’ve always felt the Taiwan government should enter into reunification negotiations claiming they are the legitimate government of all China. Would never happen of course, but it would be fun to watch.

Brent Wilson
Brent Wilson
3 months ago

And with a limp noodle in the white house… They’re doomed!!!

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
3 months ago

Biden and his Rat Pack will most definitely stab them in the back, IMO.

A Voter
A Voter
3 months ago

If Biden is fraudulently re-selected, China will most likely invade Taiwan post haste. Xi knows Biden owes him big time via Hunter and will do nothing. Well aside from a facade of lip service. Harken back to Obama’s “Red Line”

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