Trade deal with China or not, the US must bolster Taiwan’s defense

Defense News
Date: June 26, 2019
By:: Bradley Bowman and Mikhael Smits

A Taiwanese AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter launches flares during the annual Han Kuang drills at an air base in Taichung County, Taiwan, on June 7, 2018. (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

At the G-20 summit this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping may pressure U.S. President Donald Trump to halt a planned U.S. arms deal with Taiwan. Xi may even offer a tantalizing (but unreliable) concession on the trade dispute in return for concessions on Taiwan. Accepting such an offer would undermine U.S. national security and the democratic principles Americans support.

Bullies tend to start fights they think they can win, an important consideration when it comes to deterring Beijing from aggression against Taiwan. Unfortunately, due to China’s massive military mobilization and Washington’s past reluctance to provide sufficient arms to Taiwan, the military balance of power in the Taiwan Strait has shifted in Beijing’s direction — making war there more likely. To begin reducing this risk, Washington would be wise to follow through on delivery of the pending arms packagefor Taiwan.

Based on the hope that economic liberalization would lead to political liberalization, Washington facilitated Beijing’s integration into the global economy. American supportfor China’s entry into the World Trade Organization epitomized this strategy. Unfortunately, increased wealth did not launch an inexorable march toward freedom in China. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, used its financial windfall to fund a major military expansion, bully its neighbors and attempt to push the U.S. out of the region.    [FULL  STORY]

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