Taiwan puts a brake on sustained Chinese pressure

By Teng Pei-ju, William Yen, CNA Staff Reporters

The Chinese government is expected to continue to show strength ahead of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) National Congress in the fall, with experts worried about the risk of a military crisis across the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan public opinion is complicated.

Three polls released in the past two weeks by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, the China Public Opinion Research Association, and the online media Convergence Media (CNEWS) found that 60-78% of Taiwanese respondents were not concerned about the scale. was shown. Live-fire military exercises Beijing launched after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited her Aug. 2-3 in Taipei.

“Their behavior is, as usual, bluffing and hoaxing,” observes Xu Chunchou, 29, a Taipei-based content producer.

The siege of Taiwan and the launch of missiles over Taipei — a “mock attack” in the words of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) — has been shrugged off by many in the country who are sick of China’s armed attacks. there is .

“I think my friends’ biggest concern is how restaurants are booked these days. That’s the attitude of the Taiwanese towards these (military) exercises,” said a former Tiananmen student leader. Wu’er Kaixi said. He is now the executive director of the Taiwan Congressional Human Rights Committee, he told CNA.

According to Hong Jingfu, dean of political science at National Cheng Kung University, the driving force behind China’s recent actions has been domestic political considerations rather than preparations for aggression.

Military exercises and the publication of a white paper reaffirming its claim to Taiwan as part of the one-China principle are said to be aimed at convincing nationalists and military hawks that President Xi Jinping will not make concessions on Taiwan. Hung told CNA.

Chieh Chung, a research fellow at the Strategic Foresight Association, said the Chinese military will “maintain” tensions until President Xi Jinping approves an unprecedented third term at the upcoming Communist Party National Congress. He said it could be targeted.

“I think we need to find a way to stop Chinese forces from crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait.”

center lane

But there are concerns that a breach of the Taiwan Strait Central Line could unintentionally spark a wider conflict.

The demarcation line, an unofficial border previously recognized by both Taipei and Beijing, has been crossed 225 times by Chinese fighter jets so far in August, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Whenever Chinese fighter jets cross the perimeter, Taiwan’s military must scramble interceptors, increasing the risk of collisions and other accidents, Qi said.

There is also fear on the streets of Taipei that queues could become a flashpoint.

Chen, a retired man, told CNA that the story of the attack had become a common discussion in his family. increase.”

According to Chieh, negotiating with Washington to acquire more aircraft and naval vessels could help keep the confrontation in the Taiwan Strait from devolving into a firefight.

“We can’t fire missiles at Chinese fighters over the center line. All we can do is find a way to fight them off, and that kind of work requires aircraft and naval ships.” said Mr Chi.

Chen Shih-min, associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University (NTU), said recent developments meant the government should focus more on deterrence than defense.

He said as China’s military strength continues to grow, defending against attacks will become increasingly impractical.

US is looming large

Chen Shih-min said China’s military stance may encourage the US to take more action to support Taipei.

The U.S. Congress could review U.S. policy toward Taipei and push for the Taiwan Policy Act, which aims to designate the island as a major U.S. non-NATO ally, he said.

Consideration of the bill before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was reportedly postponed to September amid backlash from the White House.

Nonetheless, Chen Shi-min said that despite the “hesitations” by the administration of President Joe Biden, lawmakers from both parties passed the bill to show they were “taking a tougher line” against China. He argues that he might support

But for some, Washington has already done enough.

“Taiwan sometimes feels like a chess piece that the United States is using for its own political gain,” Su Chiayi, a 40-year-old marketing worker in Taipei, told CNA.

“Pyrrhic Triumph”

Even if Taiwan successfully defended against China’s aggression with the help of the United States, it would be a “pure victory” for the island given the devastating and irreversible economic loss, Chen said. Shimin said. A recent war game funded by the Institute for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

“If they [China] They really attacked us and there’s not much we can do,” said Wu, a hospitality worker in her 30s from New Taipei.

In the meantime, people in Taiwan continue to live as normal. On August 5, the day after the missile launch, the country’s stocks soared more than 300 points.

But economic normalization could be the next target in Beijing’s sights, according to Lin Yaling, an associate research fellow at the government-funded National Defense and Security Institute.

Noting that Beijing has already suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan and halted imports of certain agricultural products and food products from the island, Lin said that Beijing has removed from the “early harvest list” of the economic cooperation framework. , said it may impose similar restrictions on more Taiwanese products or services. Agreement (ECFA).

In June, Taiwanese grouper became the first product to be banned from entering China from the list of 500 items.

Taiwanese exporters must consider political risks when selling goods to China, Lin said.

End Item/ASG Taiwan puts a brake on sustained Chinese pressure

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