Taiwan: From TRA to TPA

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US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. – Reuters

The Taiwan Policy Bill (TPA) began its journey through the US Senate, which, according to its supporters (Democrat Bob Menendez and Republican Lindsey Graham), included “the most comprehensive overhaul of US policy toward Taiwan” since its passage on Taiwan relations. Act (TRA). ), adopted in 1979. The central idea of ​​the project, which has already received first majority support in the Foreign Relations Committee, is to strengthen the island’s defenses by substantially increasing military support. China vs. Capital.

Beijing has already said it opposes the initiative, believing it undermines the one-China principle and actually promotes Taiwan independence. On the contrary, its proponents claim that it only intends to bring “more clarity” but “not change” US policy towards Taiwan, which does not sit well with this “comprehensive realignment” statement.

Until now, the TRA, not ratified by China, has been the cornerstone of US relations with Taiwan. It complies with Beijing’s diplomatic concessions, and its essence is a commitment to provide Taipei with the means to defend itself, but not to force the United States to enter the war by sending its troops into the war.

President Joe Biden’s premature statements that the US will send troops to Taiwan if the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) force is on the island have fueled the ongoing debate over the law. In several other cases, in the US and abroad, he repeated this idea. Biden repeatedly uses language that distances himself from traditional American politics to deny that there is a gap, yes, he cares about his corners. He was even more incendiary, pointing out that “Taiwan decides its own independence,” which China might see as implicit support for the declaration of independence.

Some associate these statements with the midterm elections, but it is clear that they reflect underlying trends in American politics. On the other hand, he may try to influence them during November’s local elections in Taiwan.

So, after both the meetings, everything can be fruitless. But in fact, there may also be growing fears that China will take a military action that will blow America’s ass and undermine its Indo-Pacific strategy. or an attempt to drag China into an armed conflict that could interfere with its modernization process. Indeed, China may not be ready for such actions, but could America fight China over Taiwan? There are opinions for all tastes.

US Admiral Carl Thomas added fuel to the fire when he said the international community could also intervene if mainland China imposes a military blockade on Taiwan. For his part, Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific region, defended the coherence of it all, advocating the need to “avoid escalation.”

In this environment, Taipei on Monday condemned the presence of 9 military aircraft and 5 PLA ships in the Air Defense Identification Zone. And the next day, the American guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins and the Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver made a “routine transit” through the Taiwan Strait.

Among the law’s contents, two stand out: the provision of up to $6,500 million in arms between 2023 and 2027 and the designation of Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally. After a vote in the Senate and Congress, it must be approved by President Biden, whose stake in the controversy continues to rise in the wake of these latest and fiery statements.

Transformation of the legal framework, increase in defense provision, strengthening of economic, commercial, investment and technical ties, increase in political support, etc. are being applauded by supporters of independence in the island, who, in fact, interpret whatever the White House says as a compliment to their sovereign claims. Conversely, the Kuomintang and others like them feared that Taiwan would become a hostage to the US-Chinese struggle for supremacy, and believed that the money had already been paid for (from free passage to meat imports). ractopamine or products from radioactive zones in Japan) are nothing compared to what could be delivered if open conflict broke out in the region.

Intimidation or provocation?

The US is promoting talk that China is more or less planning to invade Taiwan in 2027, which is no more than their own estimates, potentially concerning. China, with its tense domestic agenda by 2049, does not want a war on Taiwan at all. It is true that they see it as a last resort to limit freedom, which the US, as a teacher of how to use military force to achieve its political and strategic goals, condemns.

Apart from the lucrative business, which means increasing tensions across the Straits for the US military-industrial complex, provoking these and other battles to fuel an arms race in the region, in the short term it is the United States. Arguably, the evolution may benefit most from increasing coordination mechanisms against China in other areas, especially strategic ones.

The PLA’s military actions so far have been largely reactionary, as China goes against the facts when it comes to political pronouncements, and its critics accuse it of remaining unchanged. But can crossing the median line or anyone entering an undisclosed air defense identification zone be considered a violation? Especially given the long-running conflict between Beijing and Taipei on this score, this cannot be considered a betrayal and a shift in diplomatic alliances. What is really new? TAIPEI Law threatens those who dare to switch sides. Who adopted her? United States. But this is not “coercive diplomacy”, this is the defense of “rules-based order”.

Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the US, warned the US that bilateral relations would “break down” if the TPA is approved. It is unlikely that China will react by jeopardizing peace and stability across the strait. For the same reason, pro-Taiwan Senator Edward Markey, who traveled to the island with Pelosi, voted against the bill. He is concerned with rejecting “strategic ambiguity,” which does not mean a “unilateral change” of position for the White House.


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