Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
November 10, 2023
We hope when the US’s top general speaks then he represents the position of the US military: those generals under him should not openly contradict him. The US has sent many conflicting messages already.
PRC’s official plan and/or position on reunification with Taiwan has been fairly clear, force will be the very last resort. Further, the condition for forced reunification will only happen under one condition. That is if Taiwan authority officially announces independence, means a formal political separation from PRC.
People in Taiwan are smart and realistic. They have built a good economy with a big lucrative trade relation with PRC. They enjoy their lifestyle and they have learned the consequences from the proxy war in Ukraine.
The US and China will be in a competitive mode for years to come. But any direct military confrontation is remote: there is no reason for a war and there is no winner.
Top US General Doubts Xi Planning to Take Taiwan by Force
Thu, November 9, 2023 at 10:51 PM PST
(Bloomberg) — The US’s top general said he doubts Beijing plans to try to take Taiwan militarily, comments that ease tensions regarding the island just before President Joe Biden meets China’s leader.
“I do think that Xi Jinping doesn’t necessarily want to take Taiwan by force,” Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Tokyo on Friday. “He will try to use other ways to do this.”
Brown added that he wrote to his Chinese counterpart, General Liu Zhenli, to establish lines of communication but hadn’t yet interacted with him directly. “If the opportunity presents itself, I will definitely engage,” Brown said.
It was unclear when Brown sent the letter. He was confirmed as Joint Chiefs of Staff chair in September.
Taiwan has become one of the biggest points of contention in the China-US relationship. Beijing has held major military drills around the island twice over the past year-plus because Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met senior US lawmakers, and Biden has repeatedly said the US would defend the democracy of 23 million people if it was attacked.
Both nations have recently accused each other of military provocations in the South China Sea, the body of water south of Taiwan that Beijing claims as its own. Those activities raise the risk of an accident spiraling into a conflict, a situation that’s exacerbated by China severing key military links with the US because former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.
While China frequently employs fiery rhetoric regarding Taiwan and has not renounced the use of force in bringing the island under its sway, it has said it prefers other means. In March, former Premier Li Keqiang told lawmakers that his nation should “advance the process of China’s peaceful reunification.”
Officials in Taipei have said they doubt China plans to invade soon, and after Russia attacked Ukraine in early 2022, Tsai played down concern that a similar crisis could erupt in Asia.
Both nations have a reason to improve ties. China would like to focus on turning its economy around, while Biden is gearing up for a tough reelection campaign.
Speaking at a roundtable with reporters, Brown also said the US hasn’t shifted military assets out of the region since the Gaza crisis erupted on Oct. 7.
“All the capabilities we have here in the Indo-Pacific under the Indo-Pacific command, we have not touched that capability while we’re focused not only on what’s happening in Europe but the same in the Middle East,” he said.