Robert Sutter, the longtime US government Taiwan specialist, nails it in a brilliant piece saying, essentially, it's about time the US actually imposed some costs on China for its behavior. He then goes on to lay out some of the actions that the US can take. That the piece is at CSIS, a corporate establishment thinktank which usually advocates unicorns and rainbows for China, is even more impressive. The key point for us is the Taiwan part [emphasis mine]:
2)Taiwan is an area of acute sensitivity for China; one where the United States has several options to raise significant costs for China. As the United States seeks to check China’s recent coercion and intimidation of neighbors, it could devote more attention to Taiwan – which has faced unbridled Chinese military coercion and intimidation for almost two decades. One option is to complicate Chinese defense plans and overall strategy toward Taiwan by allowing the sale of the 66 F-16 fighter jet long sought by the Taiwan government. The cost to China of such action involves not just the planes themselves but the significance of the substantial US demonstration of support for Taiwan in the face of China’s pressure and threats. Another option would involve a more active US posture in support of Taiwanese free expression and identity represented by the so-called Sunflower Movement on the island. Beijing has shown no postive response to the rising importance of such demonstrations of Taiwan identity at odds with Chinese interests. The demonstrations tend to support Taiwan’s political opposition’s wariness on dealing with China. US support for such expressions of Taiwanese identity could further shift Taiwan politics in favor of the opposition against the unpopular government of President Ma Ying-jeou. China would face costly and difficult reevaluation of its reasonably successful policy toward Taiwan, should the opposition win the 2016 presidential election.Hello! We out here have been advocating these two positions for a while now. Good to see someone in Washington catching up. As I pointed out in 2011:
- SPECIAL: Official Taiwan typhoon closings in Chinese and English
- The KMT army in SE Asia: China's forgotten army
- Interview with China expert Alan Romberg on Cross-Strait Relations after the Sunflower Movement.
- Glenn Smith with another good piece at FPIF: Youth Movements Flourishing on China's Doorstep
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