• Taiwan In China’s Crosshairs

    April 28, 2023
    Views: 4918
    PLAMC Amphibious drill 1962
    Public Domain

    China makes no secret of its overwhelming desire to conquer Taiwan.  Days ago, it finished up 3 days of intense war preparation drills near Taiwan. During these drills which are increasing in frequency, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forces entered Taiwan’s air and sea space repeatedly violating their sovereign rights with impunity.  CCP’s level of focus on Taiwan has been building for years with an increasing pace of aggressive actions.  The CCP’s increasing focus on Taiwan has set everyone’s teeth on edge from Taiwan itself to Asian neighbors especially Japan and the Philippines, and also here in the US.  America’s unwavering support for Taiwan and free Chinese people stretches back 74 years.  However, in 2023 the reality for Taiwan and the US may be that it is becoming increasingly more challenging for the US to protect Taiwan from the CCP.  For a chilling example of the reality of the US’s inability to adequately defend Taiwan if push comes to shove, please view this short Q&A between Congressman Matt Gaetz and Admiral Aquilino on our lack of adequate military assets in USINDOPACOM. Admiral Aquilino is Commander in Chief, USINDOPACOM, the largest and most powerful combatant command in the world. In the video link in the article the US combatant commander basically admits that the US cannot adequately defend Taiwan as it stands now.  This is the reason why we need to accelerate Taiwan’s ability to defend themselves by providing them the billions in defensive weapons that have already been approved for them but not delivered.  

    Why does the CCP covet Taiwan?  There are two governing factors.  First, and foremost China considers itself to be the center of the world.  To conquer Taiwan is to make things a little more right in this region of the world.  This world domination mania of the Chinese is described in detail in the Middle Kingdom Rises.  The second reason is economic, namely Taiwan’s dominance of the semiconductor and superconductor industries.  Taiwan leads the world in advanced superconductors and no one is close.  To control this element of high tech would advance the CCP’s interests in dominating the world’s technology and commerce in scores of industries that now depend on advanced superconductors.  To show how dominant Taiwan is see the graphic Forbes publicized in Jan of this year showing their almost monopoly on the fastest, most powerful chips.

    Maintaining the fiction that Taiwan is China’s 23rd province is a travesty but China has gotten most of the world to go along with that idea through threats and intimidation.  It is part of the strategy to weaken Taiwan politically and psychologically and the US has tacitly accepted their tactics with little push back.  The US has sat back and allowed China to browbeat US companies into discriminating against Taiwan.   In 1969 69 countries recognized Taiwan as a sovereign nation. In 2023 only 13 countries plus the Vatican recognize Taiwan as a country. This erosion of support for Taiwan is due to the CCP’s relentless assault on Taiwan internationally and its threats and aggressive nature towards nations and companies around the world to force them to abandon Taiwan.  Chairman Xi having now secured his 3rd term as China’s President and General Secretary of the CCP is implacably moving forward towards his legacy conquest achievement:  the subjugation of Taiwan.  Why should he falter now in implementing the CCP’s grand designs?  The world demonstrated its fecklessness with its feeble resistance to the takeover of Hong Kong in 2020 with the rest of the world sitting on its collective hands while he did it.

    A recent wargame conducted by Congressional Defense experts and the Center for New American Security (CNAS) showed a startling result with Taiwan quickly running out of long-range anti-ship missiles and unable to defend itself adequately.  The exercise highlighted the critical need to arm Taiwan with the defensive weapons it needs in order to defend itself against China’s potential onslaught.  The US is years behind in supplying $19B in advanced arms that have long since been approved for Taiwan for its defense.  A bi-partisan group of House members led by Congressman Gallagher, the chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party warns that the danger to Taiwan is extreme with China likely to make war on Taiwan in the near term with devastating consequences not just to Taiwan but to the entire world economy.

    If Taiwan falls to China, 23 million free people would be condemned to slavery.  It is tipping over the first in a row of dominos.  Japan would be next, with the number 3 GDP in the world.  Will the world stand idly by and see a free people conquered by the CCP?  Does history teach us nothing about the ruthlessness of the CCP?  Has China’s PR made the world forget their cultural revolution with 65 million dead, the atrocity that was played out in public at Tiananmen Square with the slaughter of thousands in plain view, the horrific fate of the Falun Gong with its gruesome murders and organ harvesting, and its imprisonment, indoctrination, and murder of untold thousands of Uighurs?  Will the US and the west not rise up and stop China?   The consequences for failing to come to the aid of Taiwan are described in the link.

    The US can affect the outcome but we cannot do this on our own.  Despite our strong allies in the INDO Pacific, our allies need to step up too.   Every step should be taken to strengthen our Asian partnerships like the QUAD.  The Heritage Foundation has issued a new strategy, a stunning and comprehensive plan Winning the New Cold War:  A Plan for Countering China, containing specifics on how to counteract China.   For two decades, the US China Economic and Security Review Commission Report has been documenting in detail all the threats created by the People’s Republic of China and their plans to rule the world.  The 2022 report is at the link.  The full report is 785 pages of excruciating detail on how China is eroding the US’s lead in the world on every front and stealing us blind at the same time.  Readers are urged to take the time to read the Executive Summary which is only 40 pages.

    The time to act to save Taiwan is now.  Any further delay will doom them to their fate at the hands of the implacable Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their malign intentions.  The US should signal in a significant way that we will not stand by while the CCP takes Taiwan by force.  Steps we could take or even just threaten to take include:

    1. Recognize Taiwan.  Establish a US embassy in Taipei and invite Taiwan to immediately open embassies in the US.   Encourage other countries to recognize Taiwan as well.  Reward countries that recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty.
    2. Send home students and diplomats.  China currently has 350,000 students in the US studying at our colleges and universities.  They value this greatly.   It would demonstrate our seriousness about them reforming their intentions if we sent their students home.
    3. Severely restrict travel from all Chinese nationals to the US.  We cannot assume a single Chinese citizen is benign.  All should be treated with suspicion as potentially doing the business of China when they visit the US.
    4. Seize Chinese companies doing business in the US that have ties to the Chinese government or military.   Open investigations into every Chinese company doing business in the US and subject them to the same degree of compliance, oversight, and intrusion that US companies endure that operate in China.
    5. Initiate proceedings to seize land owned by China in the US.  Open investigations on all Chinese ownership in the US for the purpose of determining their ties to the CCP regime and any parcels of land that have an intelligence purpose.
    6. China owns billions in US securities.  Freeze all action regarding those assets pending audit of those debts for regulatory or statutory compliance.  Congress should investigate Chinese abuses internationally such as its criminal treatment of the Falun Gong, Christians, and Uighurs, mercantile abuses, trade abuses, and violations of World Trade Organization policy.  Abuses that are proved in court should result in penalties in the form of action against CCP securities holdings.
    7. Discourage US companies investing in China.  Institute classified briefings for all US companies wishing to do business in China fully exposing the abuses that they commit against US companies that apply to do business there.
    8. Terminate Chinese companies trading on or buying on US markets.
    9. Greatly restrict US citizens travel to China.  Before approving any US citizen from traveling to China, require them to view a briefing given by qualified intelligence personnel on the true nature of the People’s Republic of China.
    10. Restrict trade to China.  Deny trade of needed commodities to China.  Enact high tariffs on Chinese goods being imported into America.
    11. Beef up USINDOPAC fleet.  Currently the fleet numbers around 60 ships.  Gradually increase the number of ships to at least double the number there now by reassigning ships from lower threat areas such as the Middle East, Mediterranean, South America.
    12. Close all Chinese organizations of any sort….Confucius, illegal police operations, CCP support groups.
    13. Increase aid and trade immediately with Taiwan, Japan, S. Korea and the Philippines.  
    14. RAMP up Quad military and economic activities and expand membership to other allied Asian nations.
    15. Withdraw all funds from UN until UN removes CCP officials from any UN leadership or governing posts.
    16. Propose CCP expulsion from WTO for blatant policy abuses and failure to follow WTO rules.
    17. Put max pressure on CCP with our monetary policy to weaken their currency.
    18. Restrict US companies from doing business in China especially critical industries like high tech.
    19. Examine wolf warrior tactics of CCP and do the same to them.
    20. File charges against CCP at the Hague for illegal island construction in the South China Sea.
    21. Develop and publish a notional unclassified blockade plan of how the US Navy would inflict a blockade on the PRC in the event of any combat action against Taiwan.   The focus of the blockade plan would be to highlight how easy it would be for the US Navy to damage the CCP economy by applying pressure on ship passage at all the strategic maritime choke points in the USINDOPACOM area of operations including the Strait of Malacca and various normal transit paths entering and exiting the South China Sea.

    Conclusion:  The points above are for illustration value to demonstrate that the US has a large number of potential tools to put pressure on the CCP to abandon its plans to conquer Taiwan.  Any two or three of the items above would demonstrate to Chairman Xi that the US is serious about protecting Taiwan’s existence and autonomy and that further threats against them will bring further measures against them to severely damage their economy.  Many view China’s economy as fragile and subject to extreme damage from outside forces.  A strong message to the CCP that the US is serious about protecting Taiwan could forestall their plans completely.  Readers may react with alarm to the ideas listed above.  How alarming will these ideas seem in hindsight if Taiwan falls and we have done nothing to save 23 million free people?  

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    Author

    Brent Ramsey

    Captain Brent Ramsey (ret.) served 30 years in the Navy and 23 years in Navy Civil Service including many years at CBC Gulfport where he was the Executive Director. He formerly served as Member/Secretary of the Military Advisory Group for Congressman Mark Meadows (NC-11) for 4 years. He currently serves on the Military Advisory Group for Congressman Chuck Edwards. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Military Readiness and STARRS. He is a leader with Calvert Group. He provides media support for authors and produces podcasts for several venues. He writes extensively on defense matters.
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