Defending Taiwan Against China Is Upholding US Democracy, Expert Says

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
November 1, 2021 Updated: November 1, 2021

The United States needs to defend Taiwan now more than ever, since the self-ruled island is part of the free world, sitting on the front line against China’s aggression, said Miles Yu, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute.

“Taiwan is on the front line of the epic fight between tyranny and freedom. We already lost one battle … that is Hong Kong. So we should never allow the next Hong Kong to happen,” Yu told The Epoch Times’ sister media outlet NTD on Oct 29.

Yu, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, previously served as the principal China policy adviser under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Chinese regime has dismantled Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms through a national security law, which Beijing implemented in the Chinese-ruled city in the summer of 2020. The controversial law punishes vaguely defined crimes such as subversion.

The camp of tyranny is represented by the Chinese communist regime, Yu said, while Taiwan is part of the camp of freedom.

“So to defend Taiwan’s democracy is actually to defend in a way American democracy,” Yu said.

He added that democracies in the world defended West Berlin in 1948 and 1949, and these countries should come together to defend Taiwan “with confidence and with resolve.”

For nearly a year beginning in June 1948, Western powers airlifted food and supplies to allied-controlled areas of Berlin, after the Soviet Union blocked all rail, road, and canal access to the zone, which was home to about 2.5 million civilians.

China “has a grievance with everybody who loves freedom and democracy. … China has historical gripes against all the democracies around [its] periphery,” Yu said, pointing to South Korea, Japan, and India.

“So I see the defense of Taiwan is actually not only defending a democratic system, but it is also probably the best way to stop the momentum of this chain of aggression.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be taken by force, if necessary. In early October, Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed to achieve “reunification of the nation” in a speech, and called the island’s independence a “serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation.”

The United States isn’t currently a formal diplomatic ally of Taiwan, after Washington ended its diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979.

Epoch Times Photo
Taiwan soldiers take part in the Han Kuang drill at the Ching Chuan Kang air force base in Taichung, Taiwan, on June 7, 2018. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

US-Taiwan Ties

Currently, Washington maintains a decades-long foreign policy known as “strategic ambiguity,” meaning the United States is deliberately vague on the question of whether it would come to Taiwan’s defense.

However, Washington is required by law—the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)—to provide the island with military equipment for its self-defense.

Joseph Bosco, a member of the advisory board of the Washington-based Global Taiwan Institute, told NTD on Oct. 29 that the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” should be called “destructive ambiguity” because it has not “deterred China from planning to attack Taiwan.”

Bosco, a fellow at both the Institute for Corean-American Studies and the Institute for Taiwan-America Studies, had served as China country director for the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006.

He says it’s “probably unlikely” that China would launch a full-scale invasion against Taiwan, but the communist regime could escalate its pressure by taking over one of the islands controlled by Taipei.

“There are many ways they [China] can increase the pressure to see what kind of concessions they can get, either from Taiwan or from the United States,” Bosco said.

A recent virtual war game carried out by the Washington-based think tank Center for a New American Security showed that Washington and Taipei were ill-prepared if China invaded Taiwan’s Pratas Islands (also known as the Dongsha Islands), which are about 190 miles southeast of Hong Kong.

China’s seizure of the Pratas Islands, located at the northern part of the South China Sea, would allow Beijing to create a chokepoint and disrupt regional shipping routes.

Bosco said the United States could further enhance ties with Taiwan by welcoming Taipei to join the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the biennial maritime military exercise hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“China has expanded its domain economically, politically, diplomatically, [and] militarily,” he said.

“They’re a threat to the region [and] they’re a threat to the world.”

Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.