BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

CHINA - TAIWAN WAR?

September 24, 2020 Dana Lewis Season 2 Episode 9
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
CHINA - TAIWAN WAR?
Chapters
3:06
Nicola Smith/ Telegraph
19:06
Bonnie Glaser/ CSIS
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
CHINA - TAIWAN WAR?
Sep 24, 2020 Season 2 Episode 9
Dana Lewis

Over the next few months, the simmering tensions between China and Taiwan could develop into a full fledged armed conflict.  China, say experts, could invade Taiwan during the American election and subsequent inauguration, as it is stirred by new weapons sales from The Trump Administration and official visits to Taiwan by American Diplomats. 

Would a Biden Presidency escalate the Taiwan situation?  Is either Trump or Biden prepared to defend Taiwan with American forces? 

There is no agreement within American Administrations on how best to solve China-Taiwan tensions, but many agree  it is a very dangerous time for Taiwan which pursues independence at it's peril, says China.

In this Back Story Dana Lewis talks to Taipei based Asia Correspondent for The Telegraph Newspaper, Nicola Smith.  And, senior adviser for Asia, and Director of the 'China Power Project' at Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Bonnie Glaser. 

 

 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Over the next few months, the simmering tensions between China and Taiwan could develop into a full fledged armed conflict.  China, say experts, could invade Taiwan during the American election and subsequent inauguration, as it is stirred by new weapons sales from The Trump Administration and official visits to Taiwan by American Diplomats. 

Would a Biden Presidency escalate the Taiwan situation?  Is either Trump or Biden prepared to defend Taiwan with American forces? 

There is no agreement within American Administrations on how best to solve China-Taiwan tensions, but many agree  it is a very dangerous time for Taiwan which pursues independence at it's peril, says China.

In this Back Story Dana Lewis talks to Taipei based Asia Correspondent for The Telegraph Newspaper, Nicola Smith.  And, senior adviser for Asia, and Director of the 'China Power Project' at Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Bonnie Glaser. 

 

 

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. And welcome to backstory. I'm Dana Lewis. This backstory takes you to Taiwan. If you know your history of this nation of 22 million people has existed since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated nationalist government fled to the Island, as the communists under mousey dung swept to power in China, since then China has threatened to retake the Island. It considers little more than a wayward province. Taiwan has increasingly proclaimed its independence and lately the language of diplomacy has been replaced by this the sound of war drills as both sides, flex military muscle, and Taiwan's president cite in wind says Taiwan is not about to become another Hong Kong.

Speaker 2:

This is a very strong message of phone . The people of Taiwan that is they don't like the idea of being threatened all the time, where a successful democracy, we have pretty decent economy , uh , respectful in China. China has been intensifying it Strat, and they have also for actions , uh, military exercises, and they have the military vessels or aircraft, the crew cruising around the Island and also , uh , with the things happening in Hong Kong. Uh, people get a real sense that this threat is real. The situation has changed. So we're facing a very difficult, different situation. Now we are an independent country as ratty , and , uh , we call ourselves Republic, China, Taiwan exclude the possibility of a war and it's hard . I do think we have a pretty decent capability here. Invading Taiwan is something that is going to be very costly. Uh , for China,

Speaker 1:

China has repeatedly flowing war playing sorties across the Taiwan, straight towards Taiwan, no longer respecting the 80 mile separation of the Taiwan Strait Taiwan declaring. It will defend itself from China. He is quote like ants trying to shake a tree, says China are we about to see a war between Taiwan and China, which could potentially drag in Taiwan's main arm, supplier and defender America,

Speaker 3:

A war in Asia, high stakes Taiwan on this backstory. All right. Joining me now from Taiwan from Taipei is the Asia correspondent for the Telegraph. Nicholas Smith. Hi, Nicholas , how are you doing there with first of all? COVID-19

Speaker 4:

Hi there, Dana . Yeah , we're, we're doing great with COVID-19. Um, Taiwan's been doing an excellent job in terms of , um , combating the virus and not allowing it to come into Taiwan or to take hold here. Um, so life is very normal.

Speaker 3:

You're in your home country of the United Kingdom there 65,000 excess deaths. One of the worst in Europe, one of the worst in the world, what I want to get right? That the UK got wrong.

Speaker 4:

Well, it's devastating. How many deaths there have been in, in the UK, but I mean, Taiwan did everything right from the start. One of the reasons was because in 2003, when there was a SARS outbreak, they were hit badly. So they took that time to just , um , prepare their puns emic plans and put together a strategy to never allow that to happen. Um, it helped that their vice president at the time, the pandemic started to take hold was an epistemologist . Um, so he was an expert and an expert in government. So they really let their response be led by scientists and politics didn't get involved. Um, one of the first things they did was control the borders very, very carefully. Um, first of all, restricting , um , and monitoring flights from China , um, and then expanding that as the virus spreads around worlds , um , they had a great contact tracing , um , place , um , system in place. They also , um, had very strict quarantine and still do so anyone coming into Taiwan , um, and people are only allowed to in on a restricted basis must go through 14 days of compulsory quarantine. Um, so all of these things came together. They act very early, very decisively. Um , and then life is normal. Skills are , are open. Um , and people are going out to restaurants or meeting their families. They're just living life, you know, like before , um, we can't really travel very much , um, with the quarantine, but you know, life is , is , is good here.

Speaker 3:

All right . Everybody's healthy. That's good to know. I want to talk to you about China and the threat of war. So you've , they've got COVID-19 right. Do they have, do they have China policy? Right. And as we speak , um, in the weeks leading up to this, you've had more planes from China , uh, crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait approaching in a threatening some pretty strong messages coming from China.

Speaker 4:

Definitely. And it seems to be part of , um, uh, moves by China , um , generally this year to have a very robust foreign policy and , and , and quite an aggressive one around the world. And it's not only Taiwan, but you asked if Taiwan has its China policy, right? That's , uh , that's very hard to do because fundamentally they're at loggerheads about , um, the status of Taiwan and, and there, there really can't be any compromise there . Um , China has stated , um , for decades that it believes that Taiwan is , is part of its territory and Taiwan just disagreed. Um, so there can't really be any agreement there. Um, however,

Speaker 3:

Hearts disagree. I mean, when you sit and talk to politicians and people who live in Taiwan, I mean , a lot of people felt, you know, probably 10, 20, 30 years ago, when you do polling, a lot of people identify with China. Now there's this completely new generations of people who, who don't identify with with China, they see what's happening in Hong Kong. They probably feel pretty distant from ever joining China.

Speaker 4:

Yes, absolutely. And I don't think it's just the younger generations. I mean, now when you look at the polls, the overwhelming majority , um, would say that they identify as being Taiwanese. Um, there's always a very small minority who would, who would want , um, who, who identify as Chinese, but that's just not Taiwan has moved on basically. Um, and it's forced its own identity is the fact facto independent , um , just

Speaker 3:

As it moved on and, and absolutely not , you believe it's inevitable that this, this way word province, that's what they consider Taiwan will rejoin , uh, either willingly or possibly through armed action. I mean, and , and it seems like the, now the leader of China's saying , ah , we're not going to pass this to another generation and another generation he wants to bring Taiwan into, into China.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. And , and , uh, president Xi Jinping has, has made it very clear. He said in a speech last year that, that if Taiwan would not unify peacefully, that he would, that force was not off the table. And he's also made it very personal part of his , his own legacy. He's, he's one of the strongest presidents since smile . Um, and so for him, it's, it's personal, but it's also a very , um, nationalistic cause in China as well. It's one of the unresolved issues of the Chinese civil war and the 1940s. Um, so you see this rise of nationalism in China and , and taking back, or is not even taking back to Taiwan, never , uh , was never released by the Chinese communist party. But , um, incorporating Taiwan into China is a very big national issue in China. It's not just the government. I think, you know, a lots of populations behind that sentiment as well.

Speaker 3:

So in Taiwan , uh , they believe that they're going to stay independent. And how are they going to fend off China militarily?

Speaker 4:

Well, that's a good question because, you know, you've got Taiwan is a , um , it's a democratically run islands of, of about 24 million people. It's, you know, compared to this, this huge bear next door is this , you know , China with , with over a billion people and, and a huge military force. So to , to fend off China militarily would , would be very difficult. And , um, Taiwan does face a huge military threat of invasion , um, uh, ans of China trying to take it by force. Um, it couldn't fend off China alone. It would need support from the U S and other regional and global allies. Um, and so this is a very , um, uh , tense time for the Taiwanese. They know that they they've seen what's what has happened in Hong Kong. It's a different situation in Hong Kong. You mentioned that earlier. Um, but they , they have no intention of taking the offer of one country, two systems now seen how , um, beaching has just run Rashad over that. Um, and so there is no easier happy solutions to the Taiwan , um, question the government of presence. Homeland has said that the , um, the, just the want, the status quo , um, they've offered to talk to Beijing to find some kind of solution, but Beijing has just completely cut ties with , with her government.

Speaker 3:

How do you read president Trump's administration, first of all, would they come to Taiwan's aid and militarily? Would they defend Taiwan? Let me ask you that. First of all, what's the read on it there?

Speaker 4:

Um, it's, it's very hard to know exactly what the U S would do . Um, there are a number of factors at play in, in a lot of ways. They've been very good for Taiwan , um, that they have shown a lot of support. Um, they've sent two recent high level visits , um, to Taiwan and, and that has boosted Taiwan's confidence at the same time in doing so China has been riled and that's raised tension. Um , so it's a bit of a double,

Speaker 3:

You read it and others there. Do, do people read it as Trump being supportive of Taiwan or do they read it as sort of short term, low horizon policy by the Trump administration where they're just trying to irritate China because they have all sorts of trade issues with them and other issues?

Speaker 4:

Well, it's hard to take the U S election completely out of the equation. Um, but generally I think , um , people do feel by the Trump administration and there's a little bit of nervousness about a Biden administration coming in and being weaker on China. But I don't think necessarily that people, Trump , um , trust president Trump, himself, that's more the people who are working for him and also , um, Senate and friends and Senate and Congress that , um , has representatives that they, there , there is a very strong Taiwan lobby in the U S and that has grown in recent years and there's a lot support for president's side . Um, so when it comes to military action, nobody's quite clear what the U S would do. It would, it would depend, first of all, what China does, if it's a field scale invasion across the beaches, or whether they choose to try to take over some of Taiwan's islands or the , the , uh , go ahead with the blockades or a cyber attack, it would depends on first of all, in China's actions. Um, but the U S does , uh , it has given Taiwan , um, commitments towards it security, but these commitments haven't been explicit in terms of action and what they would do if there was a full scale invasion. So that is a big question hanging over Taiwan students are, and nobody really knows the answer at the moment.

Speaker 3:

Is Nicholas Smith allowed to be the Asia corespondent , or is she allowed to leave the country right now? Are her editors back at the Telegraph saying you can't leave? You better stay because things are that hot, right?

Speaker 4:

Um, not yet, no. I mean, I think at the moment we, we are , um, it would be very difficult to leave before because of COVID-19. But , um, I think at the moment, people are more nervous about the period between the, the U S election and then curation that four months in between , um, when it could , um, if there is some kind of discourse in the U S um, and if your analysis so distracted by the pandemic that president , she could see a window of opportunity there to take action against Taiwan. And if you don't have , um, strong leadership in the U S at that point, then that could be very detrimental to Taiwan's interests . So I think that , um, there's certainly some nervousness just now in Taiwan with the number of military sorties that , that China's been sending over the past few weeks. And certainly over the past few days, it's escalated again. So people are starting to wonder about what is going to happen and how they're going to deal with it. But the biggest concern is about that , that time in the U S um , that four months where we're not quite sure what the presidency will hold.

Speaker 3:

Is there a perception that an incoming Democrat president Biden would be soft on China, or it's just a big question, Mark people don't really understand how he would react. There was an incoming president on the Democrats if Biden went to win and that's, and that's a big question, Mark

Speaker 4:

People. Yes, there is a question Mark. I mean, I think generally people are a bit , um, a bit more wary or unsure about Biden, about how you might react. Um, I mean, at the same time there is unpredictability about Trump because, you know, ultimately he is , he hasn't got rid of that businessman image where he could very well cheat off Taiwan is some kind of conflict to get something else cheating pink . Um, so there are concerns on both sides, regardless of who comes in. Um, I think though for the U S it would be very difficult to give up Taiwan. Um , it would be very difficult not to step in not least because of Taiwan strategic importance to the U S and to the rest of the region and the world. And , um, currently , um, you know, it is part of this first Island chain that goes from , um, the Russian course down to the molecular Lynch peninsula. Um, and if, if China was to take over Taiwan, it we'd get Pacific coastline, which would be a huge problem for the U S and it sends a Pacific strategy. Then it would allow Taiwan , um , try not to, to , um , dock submarines and launch them off the coast of Taiwan. So there's the military and security , um, concern for the U S it's Taiwan is also a huge semiconductor producers . So, you know, the , they would not want Tyna to control that supply chain. Um, so there are a lot of reasons why it's in the U S interests to defend Taiwan . And I personally, I can't see why that would be much different under a biotin presidency as compared to a Trump presidency.

Speaker 3:

Just the last question, just to kind of end where we, where we started in terms of Taiwan. And that is maybe the answer is obvious, but why is China being so aggressive in the last few weeks, in the last few months? Is it because of the arms sales and the diplomatic visits by Americans? Is it just that, or do they see a window now of , of, you know, if they're going to press Taiwan now is the time to do it, and is it a bluff or do you read it otherwise?

Speaker 4:

I mean, I, I think it's , it's , um, the reasons you suggested it's, it's a bit of both really. I mean, it certainly has toner has escalated its actions in recent weeks because of growing , um , ties between the U S and Taiwan , um , with the arms sales and the visits that certainly , um, triggered China at the same time. Um, China was always, they always has had Taiwan in its sights , you know, it's, it's a strategy and it's a , um, it's a red line. It's, it's a strategy that it's not going to give up. Um, and it always has the intention of taking over Taiwan by means or , or by force. Um, so I think that regardless of what the us does , um, China is going to escalate , um, its actions. And , um, it's also part of , um , Xi Jinping's wider , wider strategy this year. No, one's quite sure why he is being is he's being very aggressive towards India. Um, and towards China's also taking , um, uh , it's, it's really shifted its relations with countries like Australia. Um, and so there is a lot of speculation and no one really knows if this is true, but there's a lot of speculation that , uh , many of these very hardline foreign policy actions have been motivated by president Xi , trying to distract , um, the domestic audience from some serious domestic problems with the economy, with the coronavirus , um, with , um, severe flooding this summer. This is a classic , um, uh, foreign policy move is to just distract the audience at home and show yourself to be strong abroad,

Speaker 5:

Nicholas Smith, the Asia corresponded with a Telegraph. Great to talk to you.

Speaker 4:

You too. Thank you,

Speaker 5:

Bonnie Glaser as a senior advisor for Asia and the director of the China power project at the center for strategic and international studies, and that kind of rolls off my tongue, the China power project. What is that?

Speaker 4:

Well, it is a data-driven website to evaluate how China's power is evolving relative of course, to other countries in key areas pertaining to economics technology, military , uh, international image , uh, and , and, and, and social or soft power

Speaker 5:

Money is just not another kind of think tank person. Because when I read back through your resume money, you've been doing this , um , for a couple of decades, at least. And you understand China very well.

Speaker 4:

Well, I think those of us who have studied China for decades, no , there is more that we do not know than we do know . Uh , you certainly can't go to China once as a tourist and be an expert. And , and there's , uh, so much in China that is opaque , uh, very much a black box, especially under sea Jinping . So , uh , it's , uh , it , it's always a challenge to figure out what underlies China's policies

Speaker 5:

Or you've advised the U S government in the past. Would you advise them right now that they're doing a smart thing with regard to Taiwan increased arms sales, diplomatic visits, it's escalating, isn't it?

Speaker 4:

Yes. I think that the United States has , uh , uh, a lot at stake , uh, with Taiwan. And frankly, I believe

Speaker 2:

That the president of Taiwan is not pursuing provocative measures and the Chinese are putting enormous diplomatic and military pressure on her and her government. And so then the question is, what does the U S really need to do in response? Because we don't want to have a military conflict across the street, and we don't want Taiwan to be intimidated , uh , or the people to feel that they have to succumb to China's demands when in fact that is not what they choose to do. And this is a hard set of challenges , uh, for the U S government. So I support many things that the Trump administration is doing. Uh, we do have an obligation under the Taiwan relations act to sell arms. Sometimes we sell things that are appropriate. Uh, other times we do not. Uh, I personally think that spending billions of dollars on tanks was not a good way for Taiwan to spend its very precious defense dollars, but there's about to be a new package of arms sold to Taiwan that will really focus more on asymmetrical capabilities, things like sea mines , uh , coastal defense, cruise missiles ,

Speaker 5:

The major weapons systems, mines , cruise, missiles, drones. I mean, the thing is though in the past, the U S has kind of dribbled in weapon supplies to Taiwan. This is much more overt. This is a much bigger package this time. And is that designed to kind of tell China, look, don't mess with Taiwan?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't really think so. I think actually the dribble approach is the right one. In other words, Taiwan should be treated like every other country that purchases arms from the United States. When they make a request, we should evaluate it and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. It really no need to accumulate large packages. Uh , we should just take them as they are submitted. So frankly, I think that that is the better approach, but what the signaling we're doing toward Taiwan is more in terms of , uh, us military exercises. Uh , we've seen us bombers in the area. Uh , we've seen a, an increase in us Naval activity , uh, but , um, uh, we are also in a sense provoking , uh, China and they sending of high level us officials, which , uh , personally I support , uh, uh, the Chinese have seen as a real threat to their sovereignty. Uh, so part of the problem is that there's really no dialogue going on at the moment. I do support provoking them. Well, I, that it's their, it's their perception that we're provoking them. I'm not sure that I believe that it should be seen as a provocation. So I think that there's nothing wrong with sending the U S health and human secretary to Taiwan. I mean, Taiwan has had about 400 cases of COVID and seven deaths. Uh , they are an exemplary , um, uh, uh , model for the rest of the world. Uh , boy, the United States could learn a lot from them. So , so why not send our , uh, you know, health and human secretary , uh , to Taiwan. But what I was just going to say is that I think that it's the absence of dialogue that makes this very dangerous and it's, there's no real dialogue between the U S and China on these issues , um, conflict prevention , uh, and , uh, and management , uh, and , uh, there's really no conversations between China and Taiwan. Either

Speaker 5:

Talk about dialogue though. I would think that normally you have a conflict, you have dialogue and you move towards resolution, the whole ability to keep peace with Taiwan and China for, you know , 40 years and more would be that you simply don't

Speaker 2:

Address the issue and you keep it big. And that seems that that status quo,

Speaker 5:

Murky smoke and mirrors, it's kind of kept peace between China and Taiwan because us has a one China policy. Uh , and , and I'm not even sure what that means. Maybe you can define it for me. It's independent. It's not independent.

Speaker 2:

Well, the U S is , uh , does not take a position on who has sovereignty over Taiwan. So it doesn't recognize Taiwan's claim to sovereignty, nor does it recognize the PRC claim. Um, and , uh, the one China policy is essentially that Beijing represents China in the international community. Uh, but , uh, if we go back to the language of the Shanghai communique, the United States recognized the United States acknowledged , uh, China's claim over Taiwan, but it did not recognize that claim. And this is a difference between Beijing and Washington today.

Speaker 5:

Anybody who doesn't understand this, cause I know you've lived with it for a long time. That sounds confusing. And it's, I think it's meant to be a little confusing. And that is Ronald Reagan gave six assurances to Taiwan in 1982. And that was, that was recently declassified, right? I haven't read the documents, but it was recently declassified. And everybody says that reportedly there is a very clear commitment to defend Taiwan against an attack by China, correct?

Speaker 2:

No, no . The six shirts , the six assurances , um, do not pertain to a promise to attack , uh, to , to defend Taiwan if attacked subsequent promises to them. No, no. In fact , um, the under the Taiwan relations act, the United States does not have , uh, a, an iron clad , uh, commitment , uh, to Taiwan to defend it. This is something that would be left up to the president and the Congress if there , uh, if there were to be an attack on Taiwan. And so , uh, there, there are people now who are advocating both experts and members of Congress that we should abandon what is often referred to a strategic ambiguity. In other words, not making clear whether we would come to Taiwan's defense and adopted a possession of strategic clarity. So some people think changing that declaratory policy and giving the president and advance authority to send troops if China is attack that that will deter China. Uh , but the problem is that the U S military capabilities , um , are really , uh, weakened right now in terms of intervening on Taiwan's behalf. So I think that changing our declaratory policy in the absence of bolstering U S military capabilities is potentially dangerous and could provoke the attack that we seek to prevent.

Speaker 5:

Somebody says that, you know, if the us were to seriously want to support Taiwan and invasion, I mean, you're talking about at least four divisions , uh, you know, some 80,000, a commitment of 80,000 troops. This is no small conflict that would, that, that would draw in us Navy and the air force, and then boots on the ground in terms of the U S army.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's, it's hard to know , uh, how quickly such a conflict would escalate, but , uh, it certainly would start out as a Naval conflict and , uh, Taiwan would seek to hold out long enough for a sufficient amount of us troops to arrive. And , and that would probably take months the U S would initially flow forces from what we have deployed in the region, of course, primarily in Japan , uh, and perhaps from Guam, but then also from continental us, it could become a very large scale conflict. And it's one that I think everybody hopes to avoid.

Speaker 5:

Do you think China is serious about taking over Taiwan and , uh, before this president leaves the communist party, because the China's president has said over and over again, that he doesn't think they should keep, it should not be kept passing through generation to generation?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think that CJ pink statement, which he has made twice, that it shouldn't be passed down from generation to the next is , uh , that that does indicate at least some impatience, but I don't think that that indicates urgency for the legitimacy of the Chinese communist party. CGN pain must say , uh, that , uh, we unification is, is inevitable. Uh , and he has talked about national rejuvenation, which he calls, you know, the Chinese dream that should be achieved by 2049. He has said that that should include unification with Taiwan. Now he won't be alive then. So we don't know whether he will actually try to achieve this in his lifetime, but his rhetorical statements of course must be , uh , that this is a sovereignty issue for China and the Taiwan belongs to China. But I think that CJ ping has other priorities that are more urgent, that he would not want to put at risk at this particular moment. So if backed into a corner, if he feels that his own position, the legitimacy of the Chinese communist party is in jeopardy, then perhaps he would act. So I don't rule out that he would, but I think that his preference is still to try to resolve the differences with Taiwan peacefully, and he has not abandoned , uh, the , the strategy essentially that he inherited from hu Jintao, which is peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait. And he continues to speak about peaceful unification, even though of course he does not roll out , uh , the use of force. So , um, if, if the U S and Taiwan are not careful , um, perhaps , uh, they could provoke the reaction from China that they seek to avoid. So it is difficult to determine what will deter Beijing and what will provoke it. And there are differences on those questions.

Speaker 5:

What is the point of sending war planes from China across the Taiwan Strait that, that 80 mile nautical mile stretch of water that they've been doing very recently sending tens of war planes , approaching Taiwan, and saying that they don't even recognize a middle of the street?

Speaker 2:

Well, certainly the PRC has never recognized the median line of the Strait , which was drawn so many decades ago by the United States, but they have tacitly acknowledged it for many years in the 1990s when , um , Taiwan, president Lee dome way , uh , was he gave a speech Cornell university and Beijing thought that he was pushing for independence, and they flew , um, dozens of , uh , fighters across the center line then , and the situation was quiet for 20 years and in March of 2019 , uh, trying to start it again. And I believe last this past week was the fifth time,

Speaker 5:

The change of leadership in Thai , in Taiwan. I mean, the , the, the, the, the , uh, the race for what appears to be independence now, and you have generations

Speaker 2:

Appears to who to be independence. I can give you lots of , uh, of examples of actions that president's high in. One has taken to try and tamp down tensions and to discourage radical elements of her own party from pushing for independence,

Speaker 5:

But she ran on an independence platform. Didn't she?

Speaker 2:

Her party has had an independence platform in the past. She's more moderate. I do think she's more moderate. I think she's very prudent.

Speaker 5:

Do you , um, just to wrap this up and take this back to your own politics, as you , uh, you know, rapidly approached the November election, do you see a distinct difference between president Trump administration and a Democrat president Biden in terms of the way they'll deal with Taiwan, one more aggressively Le one less, or how do you see it?

Speaker 2:

Well, I would highlight one potential difference, and this is of course my own personal view. Uh, but I think that a Biden administration would also want to strengthen deterrence , um, and , uh, prevent war , uh, and they would want to strengthen the U S Taiwan relationship. But I think that they would go back to doing things in a more quiet way. Uh, and, and we have seen this in many and administrations in the past , uh, where , uh, we sale of course , uh, Naval ships through the Taiwan Strait, but it's only under the Trump administration that this was made public. Uh , we have high level meetings with officials from Taiwan, but we don't necessarily make them public. So I think that there might be an effort just to go back to doing things a little bit more quietly, so that we don't , uh , seem to be humiliating CJ and paying and pushing him into a corner of perhaps forcing him to make a decision that he doesn't want to make. But I also think that the Biden administration will try to resume dialogue with , uh, China at many levels , uh, to talk about how we can avoid miscalculation and crisis.

Speaker 5:

You see a more dangerous situation. It seems if president Trump wins reelection

Speaker 2:

Well, I , I, I think that it is potentially dangerous right now, and I'm quite worried about the situation between now and the U S election and then the inauguration of the next president. And I think that that is the dangerous time, but I would say also that if elected that I think president Biden would be a firm supporter for Taiwan for , for the values that we share , uh, and, and , uh , and for its role in the international community. And that would be consistent with prior democratic presidents as well. Are you more worried? I promise it's the last question, but are you more worried now? Um ,

Speaker 1:

You're wiser and you've studied this alone,

Speaker 2:

But times have changed. China's seems to be more aggressive. We've seen what's going on in Hong Kong. The U S under Trump is much more outspoken with regard to Taiwan and more , more overt. Are you more concerned now than you've ever been in terms of a possible conflict between Taiwan and China? Yes, I am. Um, I think that , uh, the combination of PRC capabilities, militarily , uh, CGN paying is a very aggressive leader who is less risk averse than his predecessors. Uh, certainly a more overt , uh, level of support from the United States , uh , for Taiwan. Uh, and yet the factor that the, that is perhaps least worrisome to me is actually Taiwan's policies , uh, itself. And in the past, when we've had a risk of conflict , uh, at times, and like when Reagan was president , uh, Taiwan was seen as the provocateur. So the dynamics are quite different today. Ronnie Glazer

Speaker 1:

At the center for strategic and internet.

Speaker 2:

Terrific. To talk to you, thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

And that's our backstory on Taiwan. Subscribe to this podcast. We are now in season two, and I've made real attempt to keep the podcast as international as possible because international news is under covered by most news organizations hit the subscribe button as we've covered STEM cell breakthrough, Belarus, and Russia, and Nevani and nerve agents, American democracy, and policing, and Britain's Brexit nuclear arms, the West bank in Israel. Trump's troop draw down in Germany and NATO. And of course the pandemic and Afghanistan and Beirut our interviews include former foreign ministers, American army commanders, epidemiologists. We've all had to learn to say that word a lot. This year, prime ministers police experts on biological, chemical warfare, nuclear arms negotiators, and the people. I have great respect for journalists who have been there, done that and know what's happening. I'm Dana Lewis. I hope you will share our podcast and keep listening. And I'll talk to you again .

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] .

Nicola Smith/ Telegraph
Bonnie Glaser/ CSIS