Will China invade Taiwan? Taiwan wouldn't be foolish enough - surely - Roger Gewolb

China carries out military drills

China military driils: Assembling an armada of ferries in preparation to potentially invade Taiwan

Roger Gewolb

By Roger Gewolb

Published: 05/06/2024

- 09:35

Dr Roger Gewolb is a former Bank of England advisor

There is more and more talk in recent weeks about China taking over Taiwan, especially since the inauguration of new president William Lai (Lai Ching Te) and his speech then, which did not please the Chinese very much.

However, I really don’t see China invading Taiwan at this point. There are simply too many obstacles and too much at stake for the Chinese nation in doing this.

Invading across the Taiwan Strait is no mean feat.

Finding beaches on which to land is also a real logistical problem. Taiwan has a frightening defensive capability and, on top of all of these, an unprovoked attack would unleash the United States and its allies, who are not obligated to defend Taiwan, but have said that they will do so in the event of an unprovoked attack.

Many media outlets around the world, and I imagine most people, do not understand that the complicated situation between China and Taiwan is mainly influenced by the “One China“ policy.

People tend to think of China as the aggressor, much like Russia in respect of Ukraine, but that is simply not the case, because the One China policy acknowledges although in quite a wooly way does not approve or accept that Taiwan and China are one nation, Taiwan is part of China in other words.

And the important thing of course is that Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom as well as many other countries, acknowledge the One China principle. In other words “OK, we get it, you think it’s part of your country and we’re not opposing that right now.” So, it would likely only be through an unprovoked assault on Taiwan that China becomes the bad actor.

President Lai, who along with his DPP party is not in favour of unification, is far too clever to upset the “cross-strait dialogue” which has been going on forever and is intended to one day result in the unification of China and Taiwan.

But, what it’s really always about is money, and here things are no different because Taiwan is the world source of semiconductors, chips, superconductors and the like, which drive international commerce, the Internet, the automotive industry and almost everything else you can think of.

If that production were to be misused in the wrong hands, or be destroyed or impaired, it would have a devastating effect on the world economy.

It would also devastate China, and that is probably their biggest deterrent to invasion, alongside the comfort they can take in knowing that the major world players at least acknowledge the One China policy.

I have no doubt that President Joe Obama Biden‘s recent obfuscation on America’s support for Israel against Hamas, where he is now basically conflating them as equivalent combatants in a battle that should cease, will be interpreted by the Chinese as more weakness in America and will certainly embolden them for even more sabre rattling as we move through the Summer.

Likewise, I think that, if Donald Trump is given a prison sentence, that will also embolden the Chinese even further. This, because they will know that he cannot pardon himself if elected president from convictions under New York State law.

Only the governor of New York can do that and she doesn’t look likely to do so and, the latest move by those conducting the witchhunt against Trump is to pass a law in Congress that presidents in prison may not have Secret Service protection; they really want to finish him off!

Trump is of course a major threat to China behaving in an aggressive manner, and, with him in a box, they will be even bolder.

But, as I said, none of this is going to cause China to risk major disruption and dislocation to the world and itself by an unprovoked invasion.

And I don’t believe that William Lai is foolish enough to make a unilateral Declaration of Independence, which China has said would absolutely and immediately trigger such an invasion.

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