Why does China want to invade Taiwan? My guest Zachary Yost is a co-host of the War Economy and State podcast and a young Voices Contributor, and we take a deep dive on the differences between Ukraine and Taiwan and how China would fare if they invaded.
Taiwan is an island about 90 to 100 miles off the coast of mainland China, and officially it is the Republic of China with over 23 million people. It’s the side that lost the Chinese Civil War, and the government still claims it is the sovereign ruler of mainland China. Chiang Kai-Shek retreated to the island, and the US provided varying amounts of aid over the years.
On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China claims that Taiwan is a breakaway province and not an independent country. The world no longer recognizes Taiwan as China, and it was removed from the Security Council at the United Nations in the 1970s in favor of the CCP government. The US has been a partner of Taiwan for a long time, and the US has provided varying amounts of aid over the years.
Taiwanese identity is a contentious issue within Taiwanese politics. While most of the population, especially younger people, identifies as Taiwanese, not Chinese, it is a lasting piece of historical fiction in the government they hold onto that they can’t really get rid of. Taiwan does not want to declare independence, which is a very nuanced issue.
Also, the comparison between Ukraine and Taiwan is usually rather simplistic and has an agenda behind it. In his article, Yost discusses the differences between Ukraine and Taiwan regarding their ability to defend against invasion. Ukraine has a vast land border that is easy to cross, while Taiwan is an island surrounded by water. Additionally, Russia and China have different border disputes, with Russia having mostly resolved its issues and China still having ongoing conflicts with India and Vietnam. Tactically it would be much more difficult for China to invade Taiwan, as the Taiwanese have prepared extensively for potential amphibious assaults for decades.
Unlike in Ukraine, Yost suggests that it is in the US’s interest for Taiwan to remain independent but not in its interest to defend Taiwan itself. Taiwan is a more significant strategic partner for the US than Ukraine. Instead, the US should sell Taiwan weapons to facilitate its ability to deter and defeat an invasion. He argues that China has structural weaknesses, and the invasion of Taiwan would not herald the end of the world.
Zack Yost is a freelance writer and researcher. He was a Fall 2021 Marcellus Policy Fellow with the John Quincy Adams Society and has been published in a variety of outlets. You can subscribe to his newsletter and follow him on Twitter @ZacharyYost. Co-Host of the War Economy and State podcast. He is also a young Voices Contributor.
Taiwan Is Not Ukraine – lawliberty.org/taiwan-is-not-ukraine/
Transcript of this interview – share.descript.com/view/pSzxI2zKvQH
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