Sunday, October 29, 2023

Taiwan’s Future in US-China Tug-of-War


The recent visit of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States has once again sparked tensions between China and Taiwan. In response to her meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California, China has been conducting military drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan, simulating strikes that have caused Taiwan to scramble fighter jets and gunboats.

The drills are the latest escalation in the ongoing stand-off between China and the United States-backed island, with both superpowers pulling in opposite directions. As tensions continue to rise, the question remains: where does Taiwan’s future lie?

To discuss this issue, presenter Nick Clark is joined by three guests: Victor Gao, Vice President of the Center for China and Globalization and former officer with the Chinese Foreign Service; June Teufel Dreyer, Professor of political science at the University of Miami and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute; and Brian Hioe, Founder and editor of New Bloom Magazine and a non-resident fellow at Nottingham University’s Taiwan Studies Programme.

Clark begins by asking Gao for his thoughts on China’s recent military drills around Taiwan. Gao responds by saying that China has a legitimate concern about Taiwan’s independence movement, which he believes is being supported by the United States. He argues that China has the right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that the military drills are a necessary response to what he sees as a provocative move by Taiwan.

Dreyer disagrees with Gao’s assessment, arguing that Taiwan has the right to pursue its own path and that China’s actions are a violation of international law. She points out that Taiwan is a democratic country with its own government and constitution, and that it should be allowed to determine its own future without interference from China.

Hioe adds that Taiwan’s relationship with the United States is complicated, with some Americans supporting Taiwan’s independence while others see it as a potential flashpoint for conflict with China. He argues that Taiwan needs to be careful not to provoke China, but also needs to maintain its independence and democratic values.

Clark then asks the guests about the role of the United States in the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan. Gao argues that the United States is using Taiwan as a pawn in its larger strategy to contain China, and that this is a dangerous game that could lead to war. Dreyer, on the other hand, believes that the United States has a responsibility to support Taiwan’s democracy and should continue to provide it with military and economic assistance.

Hioe points out that Taiwan is caught in the middle of a larger geopolitical struggle between China and the United States, and that it needs to find a way to navigate this complex situation without sacrificing its own interests. He suggests that Taiwan should focus on building relationships with other countries in the region, such as Japan and South Korea, in order to reduce its dependence on the United States.

In conclusion, the guests agree that the situation in Taiwan is complex and fraught with danger, but that there are also opportunities for dialogue and cooperation. They stress the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan, and of respecting the rights of all parties involved. As Hioe puts it, “Taiwan’s future lies in its ability to navigate this complex situation with wisdom and foresight.”

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