US' intention to turn Taiwan island into powder keg laid bare in military drills

Global Times
Huang Panyue
2023-09-06 09:22:27

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Citing sources from the US, Japanese media on Sunday reported that troops from Taiwan island last month attended military exercises led by the US National Guard in Michigan. 

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that Taiwan troops' participation in the US National Guard exercises shows that Taiwan island is enhancing cooperation with all levels of US military forces including the National Guard, while at the same time strengthening its urban terrain operational capabilities in case of an urban war.

Zhang Hua, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, echoed Song's view, adding that the US and the island of Taiwan are confusing the "cause" and "effect." They say their cooperation is a result of pressure from the mainland, but fail to mention the pressure is a result of "Taiwan independence," Zhang told the Global Times.

Although Japanese media reported that it was the National Guard, instead of the US Armed Forces, that led the Michigan exercises, an arrangement in a bid not to provoke China too much, the two Chinese experts believed this actually constitutes a full-fledged challenge against China and that the depth and width of cooperation between US and Taiwan forces is expanding.

The US keeps arming Taiwan by selling a large amount of weapons and equipment to Taiwan and encouraging Taiwan to "reject reunification with force," a move that aims to incite tensions across the Straits and will inevitably exacerbate the tension between China and the US which may lead to a conflict.

The US is unwilling to confront the Chinese People's Liberation Army directly. What it hopes more is a "wolfpack tactic" that relies on its allies. But at the same time, the US is worried that allies such as Japan, South Korea and Australia may not be willing to come to the front line to participate should a war break out. Therefore, its strategy is to encourage "self-defense" of the Taiwan authorities. The training, exercises, weapons and equipment provided by the US are all aimed at enabling the Taiwan authorities to achieve this goal.

As recent as July 28, the Biden administration announced a $345 million weapons package for Taiwan. Then in late August, for the first time it approved sending direct US military aid, which comprised an $80 million package to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Financing program. From the perspective of the US, whether it is the "porcupine strategy," "hedgehog strategy" or "iron keg strategy," it all boils down to the same thing, the US wants Taiwan to buy both offensive and defensive weapons and equipment from the US, and it wants to turn Taiwan into an "iron keg." And song pointed out that the US never cares about the security of the people on the Taiwan island.

China's bottom line on the Taiwan question is clear. Article 8 of China's Anti-Secession Law has explained that the country "shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity" in the event that the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted. The Chinese mainland has never promised to renounce the use of force, and this is the Sword of Damocles hanging over the US government and Taiwan authorities.

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