While much of the world is zeroed in on the conflict in Ukraine as the Russians attempt to invade, the story that the mainstream media is largely ignoring is the continued aggression by China towards Taiwan. The small country has a unique albeit ambiguous relationship with China. Their independence is documented, but the wording of it is confusing and doesn’t quite spell everything out.
In response to the aggression of mainland China, the US has sent a delegation to meet with Taiwanese authorities and to ensure their confidence in US support. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mike Mullen spoke with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan while on a live broadcast.
“The United States will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan. I do hope by being here with you, we can reassure you and your people, as well as our allies and partners in the region, that the United States stands firm behind its commitments.”
Comments like these from Mullen seemed to appease the president, but many question their legitimacy. Standing with Taiwan while China is trying to force its hand, as Russia invades Ukraine is a bold strategy. The Chinese and Russians have an agreement to support one another and to help ensure both countries cannot only survive, but thrive.
President Tsai seems to feel alone on her mission to keep Taiwan free. The position she and her entire country find themselves in is a very perilous one. Being in the position of being under Chinese authority, but not Chinese control is not something seen often in the world, no matter what nation.
The Taiwanese people find themselves stuck in the middle here. They want to remain as independent as they have become, but change is inevitable as they are such a small nation. Having the US support in their defense and position on the global scale is a great thing, but it does nothing to guarantee their safety or their security as a nation long term.
Now that’s not to say they cannot enjoy the support and relish in it for now, but should armed conflict happen, the US might not be able to defend them the way they would like. We cannot afford to be drawn into another 20-year conflict, and especially not against a standing million-man army. By bridging the gap and providing deterrence, it helps Taiwan to have time to develop bigger plans.
However, Tsai seems to be reliant on this support being there for a long time. “China’s military threat to the Taiwan Strait and to the region continues to rise. We look forward to working even more closely with the U.S. and other stakeholders in the region, collectively responding to challenges and unilateral actions that could impact security, in order to maintain regional peace and stability,”
Statements like this are well-intentioned, but they can be incredibly dangerous in the current global climate. Given how unstable countries like Russia and China are and things are bad enough. However, if the US gets involved in boots on the ground/boats on the water defense situation, it encourages other unpredictable characters to add in their two cents.
The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has been standing side by side with Russia and China. They will not hesitate to stay standing with them and to challenge the US if the opportunity presents itself. Given his unpredictable nature and his desire to prove NK as a force to be reckoned with, he would be the most likely to start launching nukes or biological missiles at troops. This is not a trio we need to be tangling with right now.