US Strengthening Deterrence In Taiwan Strait
The U.S. Defense Department is working with other government agencies, allies and friends to strengthen deterrence across the Taiwan Strait to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, a high ranking DOD leader told the House Armed Services Committee.
Ely Ratner, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, testified about the situation in the Taiwan Strait and moves the United States is making to deter China from aggressive activities toward Taiwan.
Ratner told the committee that China is waging a campaign of military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan. “China’s leaders have yet to renounce the use of military force, while they increasingly turn to the (Peoples Liberation Army) as an instrument of coercion in support of their revisionist aims, conducting more dangerous activities in and around the Taiwan Strait”.
Ratner’s testimony came a day after China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, sent more than 100 warplanes towards the self-governing island nation.
Many of them crossed the median line on the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.
He said that consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington is committed to provide Taiwan with self-defense capabilities, as well as maintaining the U.S. capacity to resist any use of force that jeopardizes the security of the people on Taiwan.
The United States is also providing Taiwan with the systems they need for defense.
“Taiwan is a thriving democracy that plays a vital role in the world economy with high technology exports like semiconductors,” Ratner said. “The strait itself is an international waterway, where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight are guaranteed under international law and [are] absolutely essential for global commerce and prosperity.”
Ratner explained the devastating effects of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait to the lawmakers.
“A major conflict in the strait would result in thousands of casualties and jeopardize more than $2 trillion dollars in global economic activity, igniting a global economic depression. A conflict would be extremely costly around the world with no one affected more than China itself.”
“Maintaining peace, stability and deterrence across the Taiwan Strait is not just a U.S. interest or an interest of the people of Taiwan, it is clearly a matter of international concern.”
Ratner made it clear that U.S. officials do not believe conflict with China is inevitable.
Over the past year, the United States advanced alliances and partnerships in the region, especially with Japan, Australia and the Philippines. “That will make our force posture across the Indo-Pacific increasingly distributed, mobile, resilient and lethal,” Ratner said.
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