China is a threat to Taiwan
Alex Ward, July 9, 2019, VOX, The Trump administration authorized arms sales to Taiwan. China isn’t pleased, https://www.vox.com/2019/7/9/20686016/taiwan-arms-sales-missile-tank
On top of that, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed to give Beijing much more control over the citizenry, including crackdowns on democracy in Hong Kong and forcing more than a million Uighur Muslims into reeducation camps. Those actions, in part, have led to increasing fears that he may want to seize Taiwan. “The only thing that will make him the greatest leader in the Chinese Communist Party’s history is to take Taiwan back,” Shen Dingli, an international relations scholar at Fudan University in China, told Quartz in 2018.
EU joining the BRI splits quadraliteral defense cooperation
Simram Sawheny, July 16, 2018, The Belt and Road Initiative: What does it mean for NATO?, http://natoassociation.ca/the-belt-and-road-initiative-what-does-it-mean-for-nato/
While the BRI may pique the interest of the UK, four major economies remain opposed to it: the US, Australia, Japan, and India. Instead, they reestablished the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”) as a counterweight to the BRI. The Quad was originally created after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to provide humanitarian aid and assistance. Strengthening the Quad as a contemporary strategic alliance is a direct response to increasing Chinese regional influence, and territorial claims in the South China Sea. Members of the Quad have each voiced concerns over Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific region. After Trump withdrew from the TPP, China invited countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to join and participate in the BRI, demonstrating Chinese commitment to increased global interconnectivity, contrasting the “America First” policy promoted in the United States.
The BRI, while currently an ambitious economic project, could develop into a long-term alliance. With Eastern European NATO member states enthusiastically participating in the BRI and, on the other hand, the Quadacting as an “alternative” alliance against the BRI that deliberately excludes China, unity between NATO member states could weaken, as the BRI could provoke a conflict of interest between economic commitments and military commitments of member states.
Strong US-Japan-India-Australia defense cooperation critical to deter an asusult on Taiwan by ChinaPeter McCleary, July 9, 2019, , Taiwan Buys Lots Of Tanks, But Really Wants New F-16Vs, https://breakingdefense.com/2019/07/taiwan-buys-lots-of-tanks-but-really-wants-new-f-16vs/
More critical for Taiwan’s self-defense and deterrent capability are ground-to-air weapons, submarines, and electronic warfare systems. “I could find a more effective way to spend a billion dollars – a huge portion of Taipei’s $11 billion defense budget – to enhance cross-strait deterrence,” Sayers added. The Stingers are more intriguing however, and “are a great weapon if they can target the PLA’s airframes,” Harold said, “though I don’t know how effective they would be against stealthy platforms like the J-20 or J-31.” The sales, and the debate over shipping the F-16Vs to Taiwan, comes amid a regular stream of US warships sailing in international waters between Taiwan and mainland China, and just as US, Australian, Japanese, and Canadian forces kick off the massive Talisman Sabre 2019 exercise. Australian media reported over the weekend that a Chinese Navy Dongdiao-class intelligence-gathering vessel was spotted moving north of Australia, where it is expected to keep an eye on the dozens of ships, and hundreds of US Marines, participating in the weeks-long drill. “It is international waters, they have the right to sail there,” Australia’s Chief of Defence Joint Operations, Lt. Gen. Greg Bilton, said at the kickoff ceremony. The general wouldn’t comment on what actions the allies might take in response to the ship, saying “it’s a vessel that collects information, so it’s not a great threat, but we’ll take appropriate action.” The American participation includes the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship, along with the USS Green Bay and USS Ashland amphibious ships, all of which operate under the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group alongside the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The amphibious ships USS Green Bay, USS Wasp, and Japanese amphibious transport JS Kunisaki in the East China Sea. One significant drill involves troops from the 3rd Marine Division loading two HIMARS long-range rocket systems on two Air Force MC-130J aircraft operated by the 353rd Special Operations Group, while soldiers from the Army’s Multi Domain Task Force loaded two other HIMARS onto two U.S. Marine Corps KC-130Js in an effort to get both services familiar with how the other operates should they need to quickly move the artillery system long distances. The exercise will also make use of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which arrived in Brisbane, Australia, on July 5. The Reagan is joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville and the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell. For the first time, Japan is also taking part in the exercises, sending the Hyuga-class helicopter carrier JS Ise, and the Osumi-class transport dock JS Kunisaki. The Japanese participation comes as Tokyo is looking to bolster its ability to network with allies like the US and Australia, and comes on the heels of similar Japanese participation — also for the first time — in the formerly bilateral Malabar exercises between the US and India last year.
Taiwan goes nuclear
Lowther 13 – William Lowther, Taipei Times, citing a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 3/16/13, “Taiwan Could Spark Nuclear War: Report,” http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/03/16/2003557211
Taiwan is the most likely potential crisis that could trigger a nuclear war between China and the US, a new academic report concludes.¶ “Taiwan remains the single most plausible and dangerous source of tension and conflict between the US and China,” says the 42-page report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).¶ Prepared by the CSIS’ Project on Nuclear Issues and resulting from a year-long study, the report emphasizes that Beijing continues to be set on a policy to prevent Taiwan’s independence, while at the same time the US maintains the capability to come to Taiwan’s defense.¶ “Although tensions across the Taiwan Strait have subsided since both Taipei and Beijing embraced a policy of engagement in 2008, the situation remains combustible, complicated by rapidly diverging cross-strait military capabilities and persistent political disagreements,” the report says.¶ In a footnote, it quotes senior fellow at the US Council on Foreign Relations Richard Betts describing Taiwan as “the main potential flashpoint for the US in East Asia.”¶ The report also quotes Betts as saying that neither Beijing nor Washington can fully control developments that might ignite a Taiwan crisis.¶ “This is a classic recipe for surprise, miscalculation and uncontrolled escalation,” Betts wrote in a separate study of his own.¶ The CSIS study says: “For the foreseeable future Taiwan is the contingency in which nuclear weapons would most likely become a major factor, because the fate of the island is intertwined both with the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party and the reliability of US defense commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.”¶ Titled Nuclear Weapons and US-China Relations, the study says disputes in the East and South China seas appear unlikely to lead to major conflict between China and the US, but they do “provide kindling” for potential conflict between the two nations because the disputes implicate a number of important regional interests, including the interests of treaty allies of the US.¶ The danger posed by flashpoints such as Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula and maritime demarcation disputes is magnified by the potential for mistakes, the study says.¶ “Although Beijing and Washington have agreed to a range of crisis management mechanisms, such as the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement and the establishment of a direct hotline between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense, the bases for miscommunication and misunderstanding remain and draw on deep historical reservoirs of suspicion,” the report says.¶ For example, it says, it is unclear whether either side understands what kinds of actions would result in a military or even nuclear response by the other party.¶ To make things worse, “neither side seems to believe the other’s declared policies and intentions, suggesting that escalation management, already a very uncertain endeavor, could be especially difficult in any conflict,” it says.¶ Although conflict “mercifully” seems unlikely at this point, the report concludes that “it cannot be ruled out and may become increasingly likely if we are unwise or unlucky.”¶ The report says: “With both sides possessing and looking set to retain formidable nuclear weapons arsenals, such a conflict would be tremendously dangerous and quite possibly devastating.”