Chinas latest maritime strategy document released in May of this year states

Chinas latest maritime strategy document released in

This preview shows page 4 - 6 out of 24 pages.

China’s latest maritime strategy document, released in May of this year, states that China’s navy will start shifting its focus further offshore to include open seas protection missions. Such a shift implies an aspirational capability to keep intervening American forces away from Taiwan. American political leaders have not given up on Taiwan, and the 2015 U.S. National Military Strategy places a premium on reassuring allies of America’s commitments. However, the fact that China’s improving military capabilities will make an American military intervention on behalf of Taiwan more and more costly must not be ignored. The best option for preventing a war in the Taiwan Strait is deepening the strategy of accommodation that Beijing and Taipei have already started . According to Baohui Zhang, accommodation “relies on expanding common interests, institutionalizing dialogues, promoting security confidence-building and offering assurances to establish mutual trust .” The Ma Ying-jeou administration in Taiwan has tried to use accommodation as a way to lock in the status quo and avoid conflict, but their efforts have been met with more and more popular backlash in Taiwan. China’s
Image of page 4
military strategy document does acknowledge that “cross-Taiwan Straits relations have sustained a sound momentum of peaceful development, but the root cause of instability has not yet been removed.” If Taiwan is serious about accommodation as a means of deterring military conflict, then it should cease purchasing military equipment from the U.S . Stopping the arms purchases would send a clear message to Beijing that Taiwan is interested in deeper accommodation. A halt in arms sales would also benefit U.S.-Chinese relations by removing a major stumbling block for developing bilateral military -to-military ties .” This is certainly a very controversial proposal, and would likely be very difficult to sell to the Taiwanese people, but as I’ve already explained the status quo is becoming more and more untenable. There are two important things to keep in mind about this proposal which mitigate fears that this is some kind of appeasement to China. First, halting U.S. arms sales does not mean that Taiwan’s self-defense forces would cease to exist . China may be gaining ground on Taiwan militarily, but the pain that Taiwan could inflict on an attacking force is still high. China may be able to defeat Taiwan in a conflict, but the losses its military would take to seize the island would significantly hamper its ability to use its military while it recovers from attacking Taiwan. Second, there is an easily identifiable off-ramp that can be used by Taiwan if the policy is not successful. Stopping arms purchases is meant to be a way of testing the water. If the Chinese respond positively to the decision by offering greater military cooperation with Taiwan or some form of political concessions then Beijing signals its commitment to the accommodation process . On the other hand, if the Chinese refuse to follow through and
Image of page 5
Image of page 6

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture