US Must Increase Taiwan Military Spending to Counter China: Congressional Report

US Must Increase Taiwan Military Spending to Counter China: Congressional Report
Taiwanese navy launches a U.S.-made Standard missile from a frigate during the annual Han Kuang Drill, on the sea near the Suao navy harbor in Yilan county, Taiwan, on July 26, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

A top congressional advisory body recommends that the United States establish multiyear funding and other mechanisms to bolster Taiwan’s defenses against unprecedented aggression from communist China.

The recommendation proposes establishing a joint planning mechanism and encouraging increases in Taiwan’s defense spending to ensure that the island is arming itself to the best of its ability.

The U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) released its annual report on Nov. 15, which said the measures would be necessary to deter an invasion by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“2022 may prove to be a watershed year for the Chinese Communist Party and for America’s response to its ambitions,” said USCC Chair Alex Wong during a meeting introducing the report’s publication.

“This was anything but a smooth year in U.S–China relations. But it has been a clarifying year.”

Wong said that the CCP seeks to isolate the island from the rest of the world through diplomatic, economic, and military coercion. The regime’s goal is to compel Taiwan into accepting communist rule by any means necessary. To that end, he said, the United States and Taiwan would need to increase their cooperation to ensure their victory in the event of a conflict with China.

“We recommend the creation of an economic and security preparedness and resilience office to ensure that we ourselves are prepared to withstand and win long-term competition and conflict,” Wong said.

“We recommend that Congress make available significant additional multiyear defense funds to our military in conjunction with a U.S.-Taiwan joint planning mechanism that would bolster Taiwan’s own commitment to increasing its defense spending.”

Chinese fighter jets fly in the sky near Taiwan in a still from a video released by Chinese state-run media CCTV on Aug. 7, 2022. (CCTV via Reuters/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Chinese fighter jets fly in the sky near Taiwan in a still from a video released by Chinese state-run media CCTV on Aug. 7, 2022. (CCTV via Reuters/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

China Seeks to Devour Taiwan

The CCP claims that Taiwan is a rogue province of China that must be united with the mainland and refuses to rule out the use of force to achieve this goal.

However, Taiwan has never been controlled by the CCP. The island nation has been self-governed since 1949 and boasts a thriving democratic government and market economy.

The United States diplomatically recognizes but does not endorse China’s claims and maintains legal ties with Taiwan, ensuring that it will provide the arms necessary for the island’s defense.

Wong and the USCC believe that both the United States and Taiwan will need to do more to arm and train for the possibility of a war with China, which the report says has become more likely following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

CCP authorities have become increasingly bellicose in recent years and have threatened military violence on a number of occasions.

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe vowed this year to “start a war no matter the cost” to prevent the international recognition of Taiwan’s independence.
Likewise, CCP leader Xi Jinping said to President Joe Biden this month, “Cross-Strait peace and stability and ‘Taiwan independence’ are as irreconcilable as water and fire.”

US Must Increase ‘Capacity to Resist Force’

The USCC’s new report contains an entire chapter dedicated to the issue of Taiwan (pdf) and outlines how the CCP has increased its efforts to push the international community away from helping Taiwan in order to tighten the noose.

“In 2022, China adopted a significantly more aggressive stance toward Taiwan, ramping up displays of military force in addition to diplomatic and economic coercion,” the report said.

“Beijing has also carefully observed Russia’s war on Ukraine, presumably drawing lessons that would inform its approach if Chinese leaders ultimately decide to force unification with Taiwan.”

The report says that the United States will need to increase its readiness for military conflict in the Indo-Pacific region, and seek to bolster its own military forces and those of its partners and allies in the region.

To that end, the USCC recommends that “Congress direct the U.S. Department of Defense to produce a classified report on current and future military posture, logistics, maintenance, and sustainment requirements to bolster the United States’ ‘capacity to resist force’ in the event of a Chinese attack and attempted invasion of Taiwan.”

Ultimately, it was the opinion of the USCC that the CCP under Xi had committed itself to a dangerous desire for historical relevance, and would seek to cement its legacy through increased violence and destabilization. The United States, the USCC maintained, must therefore prepare itself to defend the values of the Democratic West and like-minded nations of the world.

“Xi’s personal and strategic ambitions for his and China’s place in history are clearer than they’ve ever been before,” Wong said, “and so is the need for the United States to take resolute steps to preserve and defend our interests and ideals in response.”

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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