Time to Start Worrying about Taiwan

After years of stability, U.S. policymakers must prepare for a crisis.

Much depends on the ability of the United States to navigate its declared nonsupport for the ROC’s independence and its statutory security commitments to Taipei. The United States benefited from improved cross-Strait relations under the previous KMT administration. Improved relations freed scarce resources, such as the time and attention of national security decisionmakers, and permitted the Obama administration to improve bilateral relations between the United States and ROC. The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability between Beijing and Taipei. A return to the hostile noncontact that characterized relations from 2000 to 2008 threatens the peaceful management of other regional issues, such as North Korea or territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. policymakers must consider the possibility of armed confrontation between the PRC and ROC, or even China and the United States, over the fate of Taiwan.

Michael Casey is a graduate student in security policy studies at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/President of Taiwan