Written by Alessio Patalano. On 04 August, Chinese military authorities launched an impressive set of military manoeuvres across the Strait of Taiwan. Compared to prior exercises with a similar operational design in mind held during cross-strait tensions in 1995-96, this iteration lasted longer, pushed the operational envelope in a more aggressive direction, and was significantly larger in scale and commitment of capabilities. Crucially, when the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command announced the end of the second phase of manoeuvres two weeks later, the Chinese military had shown how two decades of unmatched military build-up allowed Beijing to use steel to project statecraft.
Written by Li-Chiang Yuan. To counteract the United States Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China warned the US that it was “playing with fire” through wolf warrior diplomacy and punishment of Taiwan. After Pelosi left Taiwan, China conducted the largest-ever military exercise against Taiwan since the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The People’s Liberation Army’s 4-day live fire exercise from 4th to 8th of August, 2022, has broken the record and set “three firsts”: 1. Missiles directly flying over Taiwan; 2. PLA’s crossing the median line of Taiwan Strait, and 3. Exercise areas encircle Taiwan, and PLA reaches Taiwan’s 12 territorial seas and airspace. Naturally, no one in Taiwan would welcome these “Firsts”.
Written by Tzu-yun Su. As a result of the war in Ukraine, Taiwan’s security has gained more attention and support. So naturally, any assistance in democratic defence is welcome in Taiwan. But honestly, Taiwan’s defence plan is designed for the worst-case scenario: to defend itself alone without foreign military aid. That is to say, with military investment projects and manpower system reform, the island can effectively build asymmetric capabilities to improve defence capabilities. This will have a better chance of defeating the invaders and establishing Taiwan’s security.
Written by Ming-Shih, Shen. The outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war is a reality check for Taiwan. Because Ukraine’s defensive posture is just like Taiwan’s, it also needs to mobilise reserve soldiers on the battlefield to defend its homeland. The professional performance of Ukraine reserve soldiers has stimulated Taiwan to start the reform of the defence mobilisation system. If it is necessary to improve combat power by extending the time of military service, Taiwan should act boldly without worrying too much about political factors.
Written by Shih-Yueh Yang. By preserving the Chinese identity, Taiwan can mitigate its political differences with the Mainland and thus be the sustenance of the whole Chinese people for a free, democratic, and equally prosperous China. With such a great and just cause for the future of the Chinese nation, Taiwan will get its strongest defence, and the danger of wars will also be minimized in the first place.
Written by Jyh-Shyang Sheu. With the military threats from China, Taiwan needs to enhance its military capabilities, or more precisely, enhance and rebuild its capabilities. The restoration of one-year conscription might solve the problem of limited human resources. Still, as evidenced by the war in Ukraine, other actions could serve to improve security in Taiwan further.
Written by Kuan-chen Lee. Following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many observers have pointed out that Kyiv’s ability to mobilise the entire population to resist the invasion is one of the main reasons why it has been able to prolong the war. Moreover, they suggest that Taiwan learn from Ukraine’s model of all-out resistance against a more powerful enemy. However, do the Taiwanese have the same determination to resist aggression as the Ukrainians have shown? Furthermore, how has the Russia-Ukraine War affected the willingness of the Taiwanese people to fight against aggression?
Written by Corey Bell. A problem in recent public commentary on tensions between China and Taiwan has been a conflation of what we know and what we fear. Nowhere is this more evident than on the topic of incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, or ADIZ. is month saw a shift from a pattern of incremental increases in the number of People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft participating in coordinated incursions into Taiwanese airspace to an exponential explosion. The campaign peaked at 56 aircraft on 4 October, with 159 over the four-day period of 1–4 October.
Written by Qi Dongtao. Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ‘s Tsai Ing-wen took power in Taiwan in 2016, tensions between Taipei and Beijing have risen. Moreover, Washington’s increasing support for Taipei, first through the Trump administration and then the current Biden administration, has complicated and deteriorated their already declining relations with Beijing.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus. In his April 2021 Foreign Affairs article “Washington Is Avoiding the Tough Questions on Taiwan and China,” international relations scholar Charles Glaser asks whether it is time for the United States to relinquish maritime hegemony in the Asia-Pacific. He concludes that Washington should retrench those areas that would be unacceptably costly in terms of lives and treasure to defend. One of those places is Taiwan. This determination method is reminiscent of Dean Acheson’s 1950 “perimeter speech.” He excluded South Korea and Taiwan from the US defensive perimeter in East Asia in the early years of the Cold War. Stalin and Mao were watching, and we know how the story on the Korean peninsula ended.
Written by Jacques deLisle. The Economist recently declared Taiwan “the most dangerous place on earth.” Indeed, it seems that although there have been the crises in the 1950s (when China’s military targeted offshore islands controlled by Taiwan), and also the missile crisis of the mid-1990s—when Beijing sought to deter Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui and Taiwanese voters from “pro-independence” moves—Taiwan again has become a focal point of potential conflict between the United States and China. The circumstances and, therefore, the dangers, however, are different than they were a quarter-century ago or during the early days of the Cold War.
Written by Shih Yueh Yang. Is Taiwan the Most Dangerous Place on Earth? Not yet, as the Economist has put it. Although the tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait has grown, not a single shot has ever been fired. In contrast, thousands of rockets have already exploded over Gaza/Israel border, and hundreds of people have died. Taiwan still enjoys peace and happiness either in relative or absolute terms.