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US Secret Military Program in Taiwan Is Serious Affront to China

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US Secret Military Program in Taiwan Is Serious Affront to China

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Once again, the US demonstrates that it is taking a dangerous step in its relations with China, unnecessarily threatening global peace by relying on violence and interventionism as its main tactic. According to recent reports, the US armed forces are training soldiers in Taiwan for a possible situation of combat against China in the near future. The case is indeed very dangerous and severely threatens international security in Asia.

According to some media agencies, American soldiers have been working on the island of Taiwan since last year, training local soldiers to fight Chinese troops. Wall Street Journal (WSJ) informed that the actions are being conducted secretly by a reduced military contingent. The WSJ also states that the group conducting the training is composed of at least twenty marines, in addition to an uncertain number of combatants from a special operations unit. Military tests are possibly being conducted both on land and sea. Information on the Taiwanese soldiers who are participating in the program is still unclear – given the circumstances of secrecy of the operations, it is difficult to obtain accurate data on what is really happening on the island.

As expected, the Pentagon did not respond to the allegations, neither denying nor confirming them. However, some US officials’ statements commenting on the case indicate that it is possible that US military personnel actually conduct these trainings. For example, Pentagon’s spokesman John Supple said the following about the case: “Our support for and defence relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China (…) We urge Beijing to honour its commitment to the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences.”

As a pro-Washington media agency, the WSJ claims that the program is a consequence of American concern over Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan, which is supposed to be hostile and interventionist. Thus, the American military would be committed to improving Taipei’s defense tactics, enabling local combatants so that they can face their enemies in the event of a situation where tensions escalate or even in the beginning of a real war.

The case tends to worsen the US-China binational situation just a few days after US President Joe Biden announced talks with Xi Jinping regarding Taiwan. The Democrat claimed to have guaranteed Xi the fulfillment of the US commitment to respect China’s unification policy, made in the 1970s. To understand this commitment made by Biden, we must remember that in 1979 then US President Jimmy Carter recognized the legitimacy of the “One China” policy, following a trend in international society some years after the same recognition was declared by the UN, in 1971. However, in the same year the US Congress also passed the Taiwan Relations Act, with the aim of continuing unofficial links with Taipei, regardless of the scenario on Mainland, forming a commercial office on the island. So, now, with the discovery of a secret American military program in Taipei, we can see a notorious violation of the respect to the One China Policy on the part of the US.

In fact, the argument that “justifies” American interventionism in Taiwan is absolutely fallacious. Chinese policy towards the island has been genuinely cautious and respectful in recent years, with Beijing avoiding rising of tensions, despite the Taiwanese de facto government’s aligning with Western powers and participating in joint actions with Western military programs. The initiative to generate tensions on the island in recent years seems to come from Washington. For the American government, it is simply not interesting that there is peace in Asia because any focus of tensions against China is important to consolidate a strategy of permanent siege, with constant pressures against the biggest geopolitical rival of the US. On the other hand, tensions in its own zone of regional influence is damaging to China, which suffers losses in its horizon of commercial and diplomatic expansion.

Certainly, the Chinese reaction to the stay of American soldiers in Taiwan will be peaceful, as maintaining international security in that region is one of the main interests of the Chinese state. On the other hand, however, milder measures are expected to be taken in order to clearly express the dissatisfaction with the episode, without implying a total diplomatic break. On the Taiwanese part, the absence of Chinese military plans will make any preparations currently under way a real futility. It is likely that the island will join more and more anti-China initiatives and may even join open military programs in partnership with the QUAD or the AUKUS.

Source: InfoBrics

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