China Is Tightening the Screws on Taiwan. Will Trump Act and Risk Losing Beijing?


(The Cipher Brief)

A model of Taiwanese domestically manufactured Hsiung Feng III Anti-Ship Missile is seen inside the missile launching vehicle during International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan September 16, 2016

A Taiwanese domestically manufactured missile model at the International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, September 16, 2016

Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

by Michael S. Chase

February 22, 2018

The U.S. is accustomed to thinking about how to help Taiwan deal with the military threat from China, a problem that is getting more difficult as China continues to modernize its military and reorganize it to improve its readiness and its ability to conduct joint operations. The U.S. should consider a number of ways to strengthen its engagement with Taiwan on defense and security issues that go beyond arms sales, including conducting more high-level exchanges and helping Taiwan move ahead with its attempts to strengthen its domestic defense industry. Looking ahead, Washington will also need to do more to help Taiwan deal with other forms of Chinese pressure as well. In particular, the U.S. should be looking for options that will allow it to help Taiwan resist Chinese economic coercion and counter Chinese influence operations.…

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Michael S. Chase is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

This commentary originally appeared on The Cipher Brief on February 22, 2018. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.