The People's Republic of China (PRC) has been able to exploit the fundamentally flawed bilateral relationship between Washington and Taipei to convince many observers that Taiwan has no positive role to play in the South China Sea. This paper will examine the many challenges facing Taiwan in the South China Sea. It will first lay out some of the reasons why the South China Sea matters to Taiwan's interests. Next, it will assess the PRC threat to Taiwanese interests at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of analysis. Finally, the paper will conclude with an outline of areas where the U.S. and Taiwan could cooperate to impose costs on PRC expansionism and better ensure regional peace and stability
Given the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's importance in Asia, America's temptation is to seek a comprehensive cooperative framework to perpetuate its leadership and "tame" a rising China in order to promote stability in the region. Increasing economic interdependence does create common interests, and structured dialogues can reduce misunderstanding. But as Asia's preeminent power and civilization for all but 200 of the past 3,000 years, China is too big, proud, and independently minded for America to "tame" or "manage." Washington cannot hope to decisively determine the endgame for an authoritarian China-in which the CCP, leading a country of 1.4 billion people, will choose to become a "responsible stakeholder" within a U.S.-led order.
The CCP views Taiwan as a grave threat to its grip on power. Consequently, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is the armed wing of the CCP, considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission. Getting the strategic competition with China right will ultimately help America secure unprecedented levels of prosperity, freedom, and stability for all Pacific nations by the century's midpoint.
Taiwan is a core interest in U.S. foreign policy. Its values, technological prowess, and geostrategic position align with foundational American values and priorities for the region, making it a crucial U.S. partner in the Asia Pacific. As such, ensuring a stable and positive future for Taiwan as a democracy and a primary contributor to the global economy and international community is a high priority. This monograph concludes that a more objective representation of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait may better serve long-term U.S. interests.
In 1982, General Liu Huaqing of China proposed the strategy of 'offshore defense' and drew a line through the Kurile Islands, Japan and the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, and Natuna Besar. He set the year 2000 as the goal for establishing Chinese control inside this 'First Island Chain.' China has been trying to expand its area of actual control by extending domestic governance over the seas. Over the last decade, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) under the State Council has assumed more responsibility in the oceanic administration and developed a clearer division of labor within PLAN.