Friday, March 17, 2017

A look at the Ministry of National Defense’s latest QDR.

J. Michael Cole, Taiwan Sentinel

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With the DPP controlling the legislature, Taiwan could finally succeed in setting defense spending at 3% of GDP, something that hasn’t occurred since 1999. But will that be enough to ensure it can defend itself? A look at the Ministry of National Defense’s latest QDR.


Besides arms purchases and development, Taiwan could increase its deterrent by better integrating the region and encouraging its principal security allies — the U.S. and Japan — to more clearly state their red lines, including a signalling to Beijing that offensive military operations against Taiwan would prompt a commensurate response. After decades of “strategic ambiguity” that succeeded in keeping Beijing guessing, the PLA’s capabilities and ability to project power are now such that decision makers in Beijing could, under certain circumstances, convince themselves of the feasibility of achieving a quick and “clean” military victory against Taiwan, particularly so if the Chinese leadership operates under the belief that the U.S. (or Japan) will not intervene. Clear signals of a “tripwire” involving both the United States and Japan and extending beyond a military response by those two partners could therefore lower the risks that China would regard the military option as a viable one.
A global public diplomacy (propaganda) campaign that internationalizes the conflict should also be part of the non-military aspects of Taiwan’s deterrence strategy. Taipei could do a lot more to explain why it is in the interest of the international community for Taiwan to remain independent; additionally, it should seek ways to guarantee a diplomatic and economic backlash among members of the community of nations should China attempt to seize Taiwan by force. ...

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