China, Taiwan and the U. S.

Saving of influence around the East Asia became one of the main priorities of the United States in foreign and military policies. Traditionally, Washington has high international ambitions and uses the Taiwan factor to contain China. Especially, it becomes actual on the background of growing friendly relationship between China and Taiwan, which makes America to correct own position towards these states. The Asian region is specific by its approach to global partnership and cooperation, considering any other big power as threat to own regional dictatorship. China, North Korea and Russia try to restrict the influence of democracy powers and even do not hesitate to extend own territories with involvement of military power method. Consequently, the national interest of the USA de-facto cannot have other preferences than restrain these territories and attempt to oppress them. The USA use political, economic and military tools so Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam are buffer instruments for saving own impact on these areas. The paper provides the argumentative political, economy and military reasons of why Taiwan is more important to the USA national interest maintaining the pro-controlling Asian region course and creation of the NATO-alternative military alliance.

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The USA and Taiwan Relations in the Context of Global Policy

At the beginning of the 21st century, strengthening of the influence around the East Asia became one of the highest priorities of the top military and political leadership of the USA. Simultaneously, the conditions in which Washington has to act, considerably complicated comparing to the period of the Cold War. The credibility and influence of China grew fast, and Russia also provides too active policy. Generally, the rivalry between the global hegemons aggravated over the last two decades. The white House tries to control the situation with the usage of different political and PR technologies such as promotion of the slogans about care of the regional stability and security. Agreeing with Ted Carpenter that in the context of American-Chinese-Taiwan issue, it is difficult to separate national security motives from purely self-serving economic motives. Including the rules by which the American competitors are trying to act, Washington uses both power and non-power methods. The power methods ensure American military superiority and strengthening of the previously existing military alliances with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The non-power methods consist of attempts to create new international institutions that regulate global economics and political decisions.

If to depict the main areas of action of the USA around East Asia in schematic outline, it becomes obvious how its policy related to China, Japan, Russia, Vietnam and Mongolia. China is gaining large economic, political and military weight, and simultaneously, the United States have high dependence on the military-political cooperation with Japan. However, Tokyo will be looking for more independent role in cooperation with the USA since Japan wants to have own political and military niche. Washington will have to take into account growing aggressive policy of Russia in the Asian region as well, which should activate America. To compare, until recently Taiwans defense budget had been declining for years. The focus will be directed on how to involve the Central Asian countries, as well as Mongolia and Vietnam in its sphere of influence. Consequently, for America would be better to prevent strengthening Shanghai cooperation organization appearing from Chinese and Russian relations. In addition, the union of Korea is also not winning scenery for the USA since it can be a new pro-Russian (or independent) hegemon with growing military contra power. However, the main competitor of the USA in Asian region is China so the efforts of America should be directed on containment of China.

Evolution of the American Policy Around Taiwan

The Taiwan issue is an important destructive factor of bilateral cooperation relations between the US and China since 1979, since it is an official point when the formal diplomatic relations were established. The diplomatic relations with the Taiwan authorities were rupture and Washington did not renew contract about mutual defense as the primary condition for stabilization of relations with China. Even though, the USA Washington does not stop to support diverse informal contacts with the Taiwanese administration, de facto acting as a guarantor of the island's independence. According to the U. S. Department of State, the United States recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. The point is that Taiwan is only a tool, mechanism to control and restrain its great competitor China. The experiments with the diplomatic formulations of the Chinese republic competences towards Taiwan show that the American policy was not always constant.

The first argument supporting the opinion that presently Taiwan is more important to the USA's national interest than China turns around the determinants of the formation and evolution of American policy around the Taiwan issue for more than three decades. Here, the point is about the long-lasting conflicting nature of Sino-Taiwanese relations, and America can take a beneficial role in this node of contradictions. The precondition for this American interest lies in Chinese willingness to use military force to regain the island since the Taiwan authorities have lack of interest about association with China. Abraham M. Denmark who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of defense for East Asia presented one of the current examples. He stated that the Chinese militia tries to control the internationally disputed object by coast guard and fishing vessels that sometimes act in an unprofessional manner in the vicinity of the military forces or fishing vessels of other countries. To save own position and prevent raise or Russian and Chinese power, Washington frequently sacrifices diplomatic friendship with Beijing.

Firstly, the support of Taipei was dictated by the need to protect the Americas former ally from the military intervention according to the agreement of 1954. Secondly, after the beginning of democratization of Taiwan, the USA task was to prevent any absorption of the young Asian democratic state by the authoritarian China. However, it is hard to say that the USA has always been supporting ally states when politically they lost interest. For example, during the cadency of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, the diplomatic recognition shifted from Taiwan to China. According to Lung-Chu Chen, We favor the One-China policy. President Bush stated that a declaration of independence was not the one China policy, and we would work with Taiwan to make sure that that does not happen. The constant threat that China will choose the power scenario for solving the Taiwan issue determined the development of military cooperation between Washington and Taipei later, especially in 2010s. Its scale and pace varied depending on the position of the American administration, the political situation inside of the United States, and additional events affecting the interests of Washington and Beijing.

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For example, in 1990s when Americans practiced appeasement of the international tension, especially after the Cold War, Taiwan went of the second place. In international and diplomatic retrospect, When Taiwan does achieve participation in an organization it must usually do so under a name such as Taiwan, China, Taipei, China, Taiwan Province of China. Simultaneously, the Chinese government has always reproached the United States military cooperation with Taiwan. Comparing relations between countries it becomes obvious, that China was pretending on influence with high ambitions and every fact of sale of the USA arms to Taiwan followed further micro-crisis in American relations with China.

Beijing's attempts to control the actions of Washington with the joint communiques of 1982, that was dedicated to arms sales, have not been successful. The second argument supporting the statement about American choice of Taiwan instead of China has military and economy meanings. The American and Taiwan sales continued even when the Chinese threat exposed so that the alternative USA arms sellers - the Netherlands and France left the market. If to consider the situation objectively, Taiwan highly depends on the American military hardware (missile defense weaponry and F-16 fighter aircraft). However, the USA will not defend Taiwan in case of Chinese aggression, they will maximum provide Taipei with weapon and strategic trainings.

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Critical Remarks About the American Policy

The American administration should be criticized for particularly inconstant policy in such a strategically important area as Taiwan. In statistical comparison between China and Taiwan and in terms of military expenditures as a percent of Gross National Product: People's Republic of China 4.30 percent; ROC 2.20 percent. Even though this imbalance was hardly criticized by the American military and civilian officials, the administration tries to support maximum of neutral position, evaluating more serious Russian crisis. The highest development of the US-Taiwan military cooperation has reached in recent years, especially during the cadency of Bill Clinton and the beginning of the presidency of George W. Bush. Moreover, even after more active cooperation between Taiwan and the USA, all agreements are regarded by the U. S. as executive agreements so they do not refer to the Congress for ratification or implementing legislation. The high activity in military cooperation was dictated by real risk of Chinese intension to return Taiwan, when China has started military modernization under the nationalistic slogans.

In general, the rise of China and increasing of its comprehensive power objectively promoted preservation and even increase of the United States support for Taiwan. The American political establishment has always spoke about the Chinese threat and the foreign policy line they would follow referring to military and economy growth of China. As evidence, below there is a graphic of the decade between 1991-2009, introduced by Daniel H. Rosen and Zhi Wang:

In addition, prof. Kan and Morrison represented own statistics on the major trade partners of Taiwan in 2013, where USA takes third, and China first positions:

Thus, it shows a) high score of the Taiwan-China economy co-work; b) even though the USA makes separate maintenance of Taiwan, its economy has too high dependence on how export to China goes; c) Taiwan should receive more investments from the United States to make economy more directed on Western capitalist manner. Finally, it shows that Americanization or even consequent influence of the USA political and economy on Taiwan is not as powerful and to make Taiwan the second Japan.

Military Relations Analysis

The third argument supporting the American preference of Taiwan is that America needs hidden alternative of the NATO military alliance in Asia as a secure or peace and stability in the region. As evidence, the rapprochement of the PRC and Taiwan (not Taiwan itself) affected the process of American and Taiwan military relations. When Ma Ying-jeou started to rule the country, the USA-Taiwan military cooperation had developed rapidly and in many directions. Among them are sale of arms, the dialogue on strategic defense, visits of senior military officials and the Ministry of National Defense etc. The educational and training courses for the Taiwanese military, observation of military exercises, and the USA inspection to Taiwan are one of the most frequent ways of military cooperation.

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This strategic interest is dedicated increasing Chinese potential threat that has all signs of the high rate of Chinese defense spending budget and the biology weapon development. A large part of these expenses covers pensions, homeland security expenditures, nuclear weapon and intelligence. According to Eric Heginbotham, At $560 billion in 2015 (including supplemental spending for ongoing operations), the U.S. defense budget was roughly four times the official Chinese defense budget of $142 billion (converted at the market exchange rate). In this prospect, the Chinese resource in increasing military power can narrow in time since social economy of the country can collapse.

As concluding evidence to all arguments about, Beijing has predictably reacted on the Washington support of the new weapon to Taiwan in 2010. China suspended bilateral military contacts with Washington canceled scheduled consultations on strategic security, non-proliferation and arms control. The American Secretary of Defense was refused in a visit to China that was planned for June 2010.

Conclusion

The further development of centripetal tendencies in the Sino-Taiwanese relations will inevitably force Washington to review own role in the ongoing processes and develop a new strategy of cooperation with Taiwan. Due to the fact that China has not given up on the possibility of the use of force against the island and the potential of its armed forces is increasing, the USA will have to monitor Beijings activities in Taiwan. The White House imposes a restraint of the island authorities in certain aspects of the interaction, which prevents them from gaining new competitor. The alternative of own military alliances and new creation of another Japan is a tool against aggressive Chinese dictatorship that goes too close to the Russian ambitions as well. Even though China has powerful economy relations with Taiwan, the USA and Japan (which is a local satellite of America) also take leading positions. It means that Washington is ready to give up friendship with China for implementation of sustainable democracy support in Asia. In this context, the American national interest prefers Taiwan as political, economy and military alien.

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Oct 31, 2020 in History
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