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Preparing for Potential China-Taiwan Conflict



The relationship between China and Taiwan has been a contentious issue for decades, with tensions escalating in recent years. The United States, as a key player in the international community, must consider how to prepare for the potential consequences of this ongoing conflict. In this blog, we will examine the current state of tensions between China and Taiwan, the potential outcomes of this conflict, and the actions the United States should take to prepare for the potential consequences. This is the first part in a series of discussions we will be having in 2023 that will focus on different parts of the China/Taiwan issue.


Background:


China and Taiwan have been in a state of tension since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, when the Nationalists (Kuomintang) were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party and fled to Taiwan. While Taiwan has been self-governing since then, China has always claimed Taiwan as a province of China. In recent years, China has become more assertive in its claims on Taiwan, including executing military exercises near Taiwan and pressuring other countries not to recognize Taiwan as a separate country.


Potential Outcomes:


The potential outcomes of the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan range from peaceful coexistence to armed conflict. On one hand, it is possible that China and Taiwan will continue to maintain the status quo, with China continuing to pressure Taiwan diplomatically and militarily, but ultimately stopping short of using force. On the other hand, if China were to launch a military invasion of Taiwan, it could lead to a devastating war with potential global ramifications. This first option seems less likely as time goes by. China’s current leadership has taken a firm stand on reunification by any means. Because of that escalating tension, I believe it is important to begin this conversation as most of you have already taken part in some discussions on the issue regardless of what region of the globe you are responsible to protect.


Actions the United States Should Take:


The US should take a number of actions to prepare for the potential consequences of the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan. One of the most important actions the US should take is to strengthen its alliances in the region, particularly with Japan and South Korea. The US should also increase its military presence in the region, including stationing more troops and military assets in the area. Additionally, the US should work with other countries in the international community to support Taiwan and deter China from using force. Ultimately the US must be prepared for economic disruption, deterrence, and ultimately conflict which is prudent in preparation and the deterrence objective. We will discuss some other methods to be used that fall short of kinetic conflict and also how the US could apply pressure, as well as what we would need to prepare prior, should we decide to use force.


Conclusion:


The ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan are a significant concern for the United States and the international community. It is important for the US to take actions to prepare for the potential consequences of this conflict, including strengthening its alliances in the region and increasing its military presence. By taking these actions, the United States can help to deter China from using force and support Taiwan in the event of a conflict. Over the next few months, we will be joined by experts in different areas of this discussion to help with context and ideas. Please join us for all of them and let us know what you think at tony.thacker@i3solutions.com.




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4 Comments


Excellent first blog on this. Looking forward to the analyses to follow.

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Thanks Bob, I plan on having several experts in different fields in this discussion. Always value your perspective.

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Ross Lightsey
Ross Lightsey
Jan 30, 2023

In the late-2000's, there was a similar flare-up between China and Taiwan. I vividly remember SECDEF Robert Gates sending the 7th Fleet to the straights, which enraged China that much more. Another "Gates" (Bill Gates) had interests in the region as well. He quickly engaged both China and Taiwan on his interests; keyboards, computer material, chips, copper wiring, etc. Mutually, both countries were economically tied with MicroSoft production/manufacturing and Bill Gates was somehow able to help quell and mitigate the tensions - complementing SECDEF Robert Gates' military efforts. Perhaps, a hard-line economic approach should be considered. That said, China's GDP and export strength was not near that of the United States, as in today. Furthermore, Hong Kong (a separate, bu…

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Very informative and I would love your "Take" on each discussion. Maybe you can help with a few topics! You have great experience and I appreciate the feedback!

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