Taiwan security needs thinking outside the ‘military box’

Author: Nicholas Chiu, Taipei The growing cross-strait military imbalance is increasing concerns about Taiwan’s security as well as discussion of the possibility of kinetic warfare. Though the situation should not be downplayed, thinking purely within the ‘military box’ is unhelpful in shaping a broader global strategy to safeguard Taiwan. The world can strengthen Taiwan through […] The post Taiwan security needs thinking outside the ‘military box’ first appeared on East Asia Forum.

Taiwan security needs thinking outside the ‘military box’

Author: Nicholas Chiu, Taipei

The growing cross-strait is increasing concerns about as well as discussion of the possibility of kinetic warfare. Though the situation should not be downplayed, thinking purely within the ‘military box’ is in shaping a broader global strategy to safeguard Taiwan. The world can strengthen Taiwan through economic and information sharing means without beating the war drum.

Well-intentioned but of an imminent war over Taiwan are not new. US Navy admiral Phillip Davidson recently within the next six years. But as China expert Bonnie Glaser , the United States’ defence-driven assessment of a Taiwan Strait war fails to take into account China’s overall interests in the region.

By the guidelines for a ‘peaceful united front’ (he tong), advocates for reunification by force and the ‘connection, incentives and affection’ (tong, hiu, qing) approach, Beijing that its developmental advantage will induce Taiwan to inevitably accept reunification. would likely escalate into a China–US war, for which China is currently at a disadvantage. to subdue Taiwan and isolate it from the global community is more sophisticated than just taking military action.

The global community can strengthen Taiwan’s comprehensive security through pragmatic action and multi-level cooperation. For instance, along with arms sales, US officials should grant Taiwan access to about the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) movements, which is arguably than sending US troops to aid Taiwan in an actual war.

Further, signing a trade agreement is less risky than — a by the former US ambassador to the United Nations almost ignited aerial combat with PLA forces. The PLA warned that it would not only follow the US delegation’s plane into Taiwan’s airspace, but also open fire if Taiwanese jets attempted to block them, forcing the United States to cancel the visit.

Given the Biden administration is to maintain the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’, it is reasonable for other nations like to avoid making public commitments regarding Taiwan’s security. While the United States has to its own prestige and power, most other countries care more about continued access to than the fate of an island perilously close to China. For instance, Germany’s frigate in the Indo-Pacific has sailing through the Taiwan Strait. And to the German Chamber of Commerce in China, 72 per cent of German companies in China plan to make further investments in 2021.

Meanwhile, supply chain issues such as the semiconductor have reminded the world that safeguarding Taiwan means more than just standing up for democracy. Since it is to dilute Taiwan’s influence over high-tech supply chains, a pragmatic approach for other countries is doing more business with Taiwan. This could mean investing in Taiwan’s , and integrating Taiwanese capital into multinational investment plans such as the or the emerging . Taiwanese companies from China could provide the finance and experience to .

Practicing the concept of ‘’ or forming an ‘’ could further strengthen Taiwan’s defence. By further integrating Taiwan’s economy with the rest of the world, the grow higher for China to deal with Taiwan with force, and the punching power of China’s economic coercion diminishes.

While , and are other potential domains of cooperation with Taiwan, a less developed field is global partnership on and studies. Due to language barriers and the scarcity of public information, it is difficult for most foreigners to grasp the subtle but significant dynamics between the two Chinese-speaking polities. Taiwan’s geographical and cultural proximity could fill this gap.

For example, though the State Council Office for Taiwan Affairs is in theory the designated authority for cross-strait relations, it has on Taiwan policy to other institutions such as the National Society of Taiwan Studies, the Ministry of State Security and the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department. Bureaucratic competition can result in incoherent policies, so distinguishing which actions better reflect Beijing’s true intentions is crucial. Such information can only come from those with long-time experience observing cross-strait relations. Exchanging expertise through , academics, think tanks and political risk consultancies between Taiwan and other countries will become increasingly important.

When it comes to Taiwan’s security, we have to look beyond the military dimension. Without , the risk of bloodshed in the Taiwan Strait can be reduced by establishing substantial and multi-level global connections with Taiwan. Only when the last Chinese-speaking democracy is resilient enough to gradually political differences with China through negotiation, will a peaceful resolution of the cross-strait problem be more likely.

Nicholas Chiu is a political and cross-strait affairs researcher based in Taipei.

The post Taiwan security needs thinking outside the ‘military box’ first appeared on East Asia Forum.
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Myanmar’s Karen Rebels Say 25 Slain Men Were Junta Spies, Not Civilians

“We had to detain these agents to protect the young people,” said a Karen National Defence Organisation spokesman.

Myanmar’s Karen Rebels Say 25 Slain Men Were Junta Spies, Not Civilians

Twenty-five men found dead last week at a bridge building site near Myanmar’s border with Thailand were spies for the military junta, not construction workers as claimed by authorities, a Karen rebel group spokesman said Friday while the political wing of the ethnic group said it would investigate the case.

The Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO), an armed group under the Karen National Union (KNU), detained 47 people, including women and children, who were working on a bridge construction site in eastern Kayan state, near the border with Thailand, on May 31, an official military newspaper reported Monday.

According to the military-run Myawaddy newspaper, 22 of the group, including six women and 10 children, were released on June 1 and 9, while the bodies of the 25 remaining captives were found near the Uhu Chaung Bridge on June 11 and 12. One body was burned and six of the men had their hands tied behind their backs, the report said.

A KNDO spokesman released a video Friday saying the slain men were not ordinary construction workers, but military intelligence officers who came to collect evidence of Myanmar youths undergoing military training in KNU territory. Thousands of citizens opposed to the junta that overthrew the government on Feb. 1 have fled to rebel territories on Myanmar's periphery to receive military training.

“We have a lot of evidence, together with photos, that the group that came to build the bridge near Kanelay village was a military intelligence group. We also have videos,” said the spokesman in the video.

“If we didn’t take action against the military agents, all the information about the young Generation Z people and the urban youth who had come to us for training would be exposed. We had to detain these agents to protect the young people,” said the spokesman.

The Irrawaddy, an independent online news outlet, quoted the spokesman for the KNDO chief of staff Major General Nerdah Bo Mya as saying the slain men wore military dress and were from infantry and engineering units.

“We shot some of them dead. But some were killed in shelling by the military,” spokesman Saw Wah Nay Nu was quoted as saying.

“They were not road workers. They had military uniforms and badges. They had military equipment. We seized it all,” he told The Irrawaddy.

“They sent drones every night for a month. We said we could not accept that. But they continued and we have had to do what we are supposed to do as we are fighting a war. It was because they didn’t listen to us,” added Saw Wah Nay Nu

“They always want to carry out area clearance operations. In fact, they have killed a lot of people. They (the victims) belonged to the engineering unit,” said the KNDO spokesman.

The junta’s Southeast Military Command sent a letter to KNU on June 13 urging an investigation and the announced on June 16 that it would investigate the matter, reported the local KIC Karen News outfit.

Padoh Saw Taw Ni, KNU's foreign affairs officer, told RFA that in cases when innocent civilians are killed, KNU follows international and local laws.

"I do not know the details yet. As the statement says, we follow the Geneva Conventions because we work with international organizations,” he said.

Aung Myo Min, human rights minister for the National Unity Government and a longtime human rights activist, says the killing of detainees without a fair trial is unacceptable.

"From a human rights point of view, even if it was during a war, killing without trial is completely unacceptable to us. Civilians should not be killed at all,” he said.

“Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a person is absolutely unacceptable in the eyes of any human rights group,” added Aung Myo Min.

According to The Irrawaddy, heavy clashes between the KNDO and junta troops in the area of the killings from May 31 to the first week of June had driven more than 200 villagers to flee to Thailand.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Paul Eckert. 

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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