Taiwan’s asymmetric and fundamental capabilities to deter China
We appreciate the Globe’s concern about Taiwan’s defense spending (“It’s time for a firm shift in our policy toward China,” Opinion, Sept. 4). In fact, since 2017, Taiwan has continued to increase its spending on national defense. The proposed $19.41 billion defense budget for 2023 marks a year-over-year increase of 13.9 percent, the most extensive growth in six years, and accounts for 2.4 percent of Taiwan’s GDP. As the Globe rightly pointed out, Taiwan cannot and will not engage in an arms race with China. Therefore, its military strategy of “Resolute Defense and Multi-domain Deterrence” aims to combine asymmetric and fundamental capabilities to deter China from waging war against Taiwan. Taiwan will continue to enhance its asymmetric capabilities into its multi-layered defense power by integrating precision-guided munitions, light and rapid maritime forces, advanced naval mines, multifunctional unmanned systems, etc. Successive US administrations have faithfully fulfilled US security commitments to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances, for which Taiwan is grateful. Taiwan will continue to work closely with the United States and other like-minded partners to strengthen further its self-defense capability in the face of China’s mounting military pressure and to secure lasting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston
Attempts to make China conform to US systems will fail
Policies designed to discipline Beijing in order make it conform to the US hegemonic system are bound to fail. They will drive the two superpowers closer to what has been termed the “avoidable” and certainly disastrous war.
With humanity facing two existential threats, US-Chinese confrontations and the inability to cooperate accelerate humanity’s march toward nuclear Armageddon and climate catastrophe. The former, exacerbated by provocative US and Chinese military actions around Taiwan and the South China Sea, could trigger escalation to the unthinkable as a result of an accident, incident, or miscalculation.
While Beijing is anything but blameless, the Trump and Biden administrations’ arrogance of power and humiliating approaches to China, compounded by reckless Congressional actions, have brought us closer to calamity. Their campaigns to eliminate the One China policy that has been the foundation of Taiwanese and Northeast Asian peace since the normalization of US-Chinese relations in 1979 has been especially dangerous. Compromise is essential, as China will inevitably resist bringing Taiwan completely into the US sphere.
Joseph C. Gerson
President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Why exaggerate the threat posed by China?
In your recent editorial, you state that China had a “pyrotechnic temper tantrum” over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. However, there were many responsible commentators in the United States on the left who expressed grave concerns over Pelosi’s visit as only serving to inflame tensions in US-China relations. Her visit was a controversial one politically and even President Biden initially urged her not to make the visit.
Why is the Globe advocating for military solutions by exaggerating the threat posed by China? Professor Jeffery Sachs at Columbia University, who has served as adviser to three UN Secretaries-General, has pointed out that “since 1980, the US has been in at least 15 overseas wars of choice (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Serbia, Syria, and Yemen just to name a few), while China has been in none.”
US policy makers need to pivot away from the temptation to use military might to protect our strategic and economic interests in an increasingly multipolar world. We cannot afford to reflexively revert to our past unipolar dominance solely through the US use of of military power when global conflicts arise. The American public is weary of forever wars with so many other priorities knocking at the door including the climate crisis, a failing health care system, severe economic distress, housing problems, and other huge issues needing attention.
Thomas S. Valovic