This weekend saw yet another step-up in Chinese aggression—over 90 incursions in three days. While the world asks, “WTF!?” Taiwan rallies international support based on its IC chip industry. Taiwan supplies a good portion of the world’s semiconductors. If China invaded Taiwan, that could pretty much shut down the world’s supply of phones and computers. Coming from Taiwan, it’s almost a PR campaign: “We make your tech work; if China hurts us, then China hurts you too.”
This past weekend was a national holiday for Taiwan and China, celebrating the founding of their common government in history. It is not unusual for military saber rattling to step up about this time of year. That doesn’t mean China isn’t a threat. That means China used its easy excuse to make more threats.
The US responded by clearing its throat, reminding the world of its many military assets in the region. The Philippines wants the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US to have stronger language, clarifying just how much protection the US would bring. China thinks it has standing to object to a treaty for which it is not a party. And, China said Taiwan can expect more next year if the “collusion” between Taiwan and the US doesn’t stop. “Collusion”—that’s how China sees things. Perhaps the word “paranoid” has relevance somewhere.
A democratic Pacific alliance is on the rise. Many nations in the Far East may host US troops, but a bond is forming between them that runs deeper than any US influence. At the center: Taiwan; across the battlefield: China, the great enemy of the Pacific peoples. That’s how this rising alliance sees it.
Taiwan has breakthroughs in micro-tech. The Philippines steps up rhetoric against China—which may not mean anything as words are mere words, but it is a very different direction than bowing down. Japan and Southern Korea tell China to knock it off. And, the British set sail for the Far East with the brand new, shiny HMS Queen Elizabeth and her entourage. This new Pacific family has friends on both sides of the Atlantic.
Military budgets—that’s the talk of the Taiwan Strait. China wants its budget to grow so it can play with the big kids by 2035. China’s apparently not ready to play with the big kids, at least since India just ate China’s lunch. So, with China trying to bulk up even more, people are asking what the heck is going on with Taiwan.
Israel spends 5% GDP on asymmetric defense; Taiwan only spends 3%. So-called “experts” want Taiwan to spend more. The US wants Taiwan to spend more. Apparently even the newspapers want Taiwan to spend more because military budget is the talk of the week.
It was a strange week, though. So many things have gone peaceful in the East Pacific. China and India are suddenly getting along. Taiwan and China talk more about the need to talk. Threats and vibrato from Beijing haven’t stopped, of course. But, things are getting a bit quiet, and it seems somewhat eerie.
Biden doesn’t only continue the stance on China from the previous administration, he seems to be clamping down.
The US sails through the Taiwan Strait, again.
China strong arms Guyana out of an office for Taiwan; the US defends Taiwan.
An Australian reporter was detained by China back in August; we’re just now finding out why—and the abbreviated reasons don’t add up in the minds of her family.
The UK government argues that there is a “very credible case” China is committing the non-killing parts in an act of genocide against the Uighurs of Xinjiang. The British blame Xi Jinping specifically. Responses from China’s government and state-run media are viewed by the British as evidence that the top of China’s government knows what is going on. British Parliament has support from across the political spectrum to take action, even with new legislation empowering the British High Court. The US responds by turning up pressure on China over the Uighurs and on Hong Kong and even Tibet. US Congress, much like the UK, has bipartisan support to stand against China—and the State Department isn’t quiet about it.
Things appear to be entering the later stages of a long campaign to sway public opinion to support Western military action against China. That is necessary, whether justified or unjustified, because Western governments know that they can’t take action without popular support of their people. Such support for action against China is one of the few remaining popular opinions that unite Americans, which puts China at even greater risk should the White House fall out of favor with the people.
The West ramped up rhetoric against China this past week. Even George “Socialist” Soros trashed the Chinese government, yet tried to court favor with the Chinese people. Such an attempt aims to divide government and people. Opinion pieces from renowned news outlets openly accuse China of aggression. We did not see such a harsh tone from the mainstream press in the West even one year ago. Today, it’s becoming commonplace to bash China.
The US sent two Naval vessels through the Taiwan Strait this week. Now, the US is preparing extradition of the Huawei executive currently in Canadian custody. With threats of turning the tariffs back on, it should be more apparent that the US never planned to grant China any of its ambitions in the first place. Not only has the US been playing China like a flute, the Chinese haven’t known—or have they?
Everyone seems to be biding time, both the US and China. China’s main focus has been readying government and military. The US focus seems to have been public sentiment against China. Perhaps both sides have been playing each other, but the US has been making a play of its own—that we can see.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen apologizing after a mid-term defeat at the provincial level will not demonstrate strength on her part, but she shows respect and stability in maintaining her appointees and policy toward China. Having not stood her ground on information about proposal that would have set Taiwan’s team name at the Olympics in Japan as “Taiwan”, instead of “Taipei”, she lost important support from the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a group that seeks to have Taiwan internationally recognized as an independent nation.
Taiwan’s premier, William Lai, does stand for Taiwanese independence, held remarkable popularity in his reelection as mayor, and is the shoe-in candidate if he were to run in 2020 instead of Tsai. Tsai’s re-election is uncertain. What happens will depend on Taiwanese politics, which are too adolescent to not be surprised by. Main matters at stake include Taiwan developing faster responses to correct disinformation given to the public and a focus on better quality with internal governance and infrastructure. Interestingly, information and governance—not China itself—are at the heart of resistance to China.
If Taiwan declares independence from China, or takes too many steps to join international bodies like the UN, as Beijing has stated, we could be looking at all out war. Some in the political “news-o-sphere” call Taiwan a “flashpoint”. China hangs onto hopes of retaking Taiwan like King John’s suicidal siege of Rochester Castle. All the US does is provoke.
The latest provocation came late last week when Japan opened the path to retrofitting “helicopter carriers” into fixed-wing aircraft carriers. Japan looks to acquire 142 F35s—42 As and now 100 Bs; the UK eyes 138, about half of them to go to the Royal Navy. There are too many high-tech American aircraft in China’s backyard for China’s comfort. And, the US did two more sail-bys—one near China’s man-made islands, the other through the Taiwan Strait. China lobbed another “demarche” protest with Washington, presuming the action to be “provocative”.
Then came the US-China 90 day cease fire between Trump and Xi at the G20 this past weekend. A lot can happen in 90 days, whether politically, economically, or militarily.