‘Dangerous times ahead’ for Taiwan

US expert says Taiwan and the U.S. need to prepare for the consequences of pandemic

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/03/26
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

A Sea Hawk helicopter taking off from the USS McCampbell in the Taiwan Strait Wednesday March 25 (screenshot from US Pacific Command Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might see Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) trying to deflect public anger by moving against Taiwan, while a United States weakened by the virus would also imply dangerous times ahead for the island nation, according to Michael Mazza of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

In a report on the AEI website published Wednesday (March 25), the Asian defense expert presents four scenarios that might affect cross-strait relations if and when the epidemic fizzles out.

While U.S.-China tensions have intensified during the pandemic, a failed recovery from the virus in China might see Xi warding off pressure from inside the Communist Party and anger from the public by trying to divert attention. In this case, “Taiwan might well look like an appetizing target,” according to Mazza.

Under the second scenario, China would recover but the rest of the world would not, causing a sharp drop in exports and grumbling about the government’s role in neglecting the outbreak at the outset. Xi might also try to test U.S. readiness to defend Taiwan by manufacturing a crisis, such as engineering a collision between Chinese and Taiwanese warplanes or ships, or by replaying the 1996 missile crisis.    [FULL  STORY]

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