Taiwan should prepare for war with China, says US national security adviser

Robert O'Brien

THE TAIWANESE MILITARY AND society should be prepared to prevent and deter a possible military invasion by China, according to White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien. O’Brien, the fourth person to hold that position at the White House during the presidency of Donald Trump, said last week he did not believe that Beijing was planning an all-out military invasion of Taiwan. He added, however, that the island should be prepared to deter so-called “gray zone operations” by China, as well a direct “amphibious landing” by Chinese forces.

The Reuters news agency reported last week that many in Taiwan fear a possible Chinese invasion, should the upcoming presidential election in the United States lead to political confusion and disorder in Washington. Tensions between China and Taiwan have been growing in recent months. China sees Taiwan as a renegade province, a view that contrasts sharply with the majority view in Taiwan. The island sees itself as independent from China, though fewer than 20 countries around the world have officially recognized its independent status. Earlier this month, the Chinese government said it had launched an extensive counterintelligence operation aiming to uncover Taiwanese spies. Meanwhile, Chinese government-run media aired footage last week of a military exercise that appeared to simulate an amphibious invasion of Taiwan.

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the Aspen Strategy Group on Friday, O’Brien opined that Taiwan should “start looking at some asymmetric and anti-access area denial strategies […] and really fortify itself”. He added that the goal of such a fortification would be to “deter the Chinese from any sort of amphibious invasion or even a gray zone operation” —that is, aggressive economic and political actions that fall short of a direct military invasion. O’Brien’s comments came less than a week after Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s economic and cultural representative in Washington (effectively Taiwan’s ambassador to the US) urged the Trump administration to provide the island with “some degree of clarity” on whether the US would come to its aid, should China invade.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 19 October 2020 | Permalink

2 Responses to Taiwan should prepare for war with China, says US national security adviser

  1. Pete says:

    Indeed. China can exploit US alliance confusion. The civil disorder foreshadowed by President Trump, if he loses, would add to the usual disruption of US power during a lame-duck presidential period (November 3, 2020 to January 20, 2021).

  2. Middager says:

    But the thing is some people work with China in Taiwan, either political parties or civil organizations which come from China or connect with Chinese. The real Taiwanese are suffering, though we have freedom now, the media and army are controlled by certain Chinese groups. They have identity in Taiwan and some of them are elites in each industry; however, when conflicts happen between Taiwan and China, it is difficult to unite all of them with locals.

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