Conflict in Taiwan Strait unlikely despite U.S. uncertainty: experts

Taipei,  A military conflict in the Taiwan Strait is unlikely despite a possible period of uncertainty if legal challenges are mounted in the United States presidential election, analysts in Taiwan said Friday.

Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, felt that neither side would see war as being in their interest.

“On the U.S. side, its strategy against China is containment rather than waging actual war,” said Su at a forum on Taiwan-U.S.-China relations after the U.S. election held by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Judging from history, especially World War I and World War II, the U.S. is not likely to fire the first shot in the Taiwan Strait, Su said.

Some observers in Taiwan have suggested that the Trump administration might create conflict in the Taiwan Strait to rally the American people behind him after he launched legal challenges in several battleground states to contest the election results.

On the Chinese side, Su said, the People’s Liberation Army does not have full confidence of a decisive victory in the event of a military offensive against Taiwan.

“Aside from that, if we consider China’s philosophy of war, which has long been a mix of 70 percent political considerations and only 30 percent military elements, there won’t be an armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait in the near term,” he said.

Simon Chang (張登及), a professor of political science at National Taiwan University, made a similar observation in a separate forum, organized by the Association of Strategy Foresight on a similar topic the same day.

“Although from Beijing’s viewpoint, the present situation in the U.S. might create a power vacuum in the Taiwan Strait, a military offensive against Taiwan might rally the U.S. people behind President Trump, which would be disadvantageous to China,” Chang said.

China is not fully prepared to take Taiwan by force at present and would not venture into such a high-risk maneuver just because of a short period of uncertainty in the U.S., he argued.

“Beijing might keep its military pressure on Taiwan, but such pressure would be limited to harassment rather than a military invasion,” Chang contended.

In the two forums, other scholars also shared their views on U.S.-China-Taiwan relations.

Chou Chih-chieh (周志杰), a political science professor at National Cheng Kung University, said he sees less “turbulence” between the three sides after the election is settled as they will begin to focus more on domestic affairs.

Lu Yeh-chung (盧業中), a political science professor at National Chengchi University, said no matter who wins the election, the U.S. and China will engage in more competition than cooperation as anti-China sentiment prevails in the U.S.

The U.S. government will continue to be friendly with Taiwan, he predicted.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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