How far could the Quad sustain Taiwan? – The Diplomat

With Beijing strengthening its military influence in the Indo-Pacific, the geopolitical challenge has weighed heavily on countries in the region, including Taiwan and members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad): Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Taiwan and the Quad both have reason to strengthen their ties, as China pursues its regional hegemony and could pose a long-term challenge to the rules-based international order.

Indeed, there is a strong possibility that Beijing will overthrow regional powers and establish its supremacy in the Indo-Pacific if regional players fail to confront its aggression. For Taiwan in particular, China is much more likely to continue threats and intimidation if Beijing’s leaders view the Quad’s reluctant response to counterbalance China as a concession aimed at improving and stabilizing relations between the group and China. China.

The Quad should remain cautious when it comes to predicting China’s behavior. Essentially, it is unrealistic to anticipate any concessions from China regarding its so-called core interests, with Taiwan topping the list. Chinese President Xi Jinping said “unification” with Taiwan “is a historic mission and an unwavering commitment of the Communist Party of China.” Beijing’s provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait, such as stepping up incursions by military aircraft into the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone and the navigation of warships through the Taiwan Strait, are meant to show China’s ability to project military power abroad and alert regional powers to support Taiwan. .

Moreover, Russia’s war against Ukraine could encourage China to pursue outright aggression. This possibility, although slim, should not be overlooked. As a result, the deep freeze between Taiwan and China is likely to continue or even intensify, turning from a long stalemate into a military confrontation or conflagration, with little prospect of improving bilateral relations.

Given that liberal democracy is one of the core values ​​shared among Quad members, Taiwan’s security, the first “comprehensive democracy” in Asia and eighth in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, should be among the main concerns of the group. Reasonably, if Beijing succeeds in taking Taiwan by force, the overthrow of Taiwanese democracy would show the triumph of China’s authoritarian model and possibly trigger a Ukraine-like crisis in Asia. In essence, bolstering Taiwan’s security would help the Quad fulfill its “promise” to support democracies in the Indo-Pacific and counterbalance China’s aggression.

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Strengthened ties between Quad members could cause China to rethink its intention to invade Taiwan. The grouping has strengthened its ties by strengthening diplomatic relations, facilitating trade expansion and cooperating on an intelligence-sharing network among members. To “promote stability and prosperity” in the Indo-Pacific region, the bloc has sought to strengthen its capabilities to monitor Chinese actions, including with strengthened regional infrastructure and an updated maritime surveillance program. Following recent attempts to strengthen collaboration in “practical areas”, such as COVID-19 vaccines, infrastructure aid and investment, maritime domain awareness, climate change and critical technologies, the Quad has the potential to become a counterweight to Beijing’s economic and economic growth. military power.

Yet there remain gaps in the Quad’s efforts when it comes to counterbalancing coercion from China. Despite its branding as an informal framework for consultation and its commitment to becoming “a force for good” aimed at “bringing tangible benefits to the region”, the Quad is not a formal alliance or an Asian NATO, as it he lacks a valid “muscle force”. Moreover, the Quad has drawn criticism from some observers who believe it is more symbolic than substantial, and China initially called it “sea foam” that would dissipate.

Thus, the extent to which the Quad can support Taiwan in the event of a crisis or military conflict is worth exploring, especially since China has warned of serious consequences if the Speaker of the United States House, Nancy Pelosi, was to go ahead with a planned trip to Taiwan.

will be the Quadruple be ready at Back to Taiwan?

The Quad’s perceptions of support for Taiwan are far from united. In May, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio stressed that “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are essential not only for Japan’s security but also for the stability of international society.” He also called for a coordinated response from the bloc to oppose China’s attempt to “change the status quo by force”. Recently, Japan’s 2022 Defense White Paper hailed Taiwan as Tokyo’s “extremely important partner” while stressing that security surrounding Taiwan “must be closely monitored with a sense of urgency.”

For his part, US President Joe Biden has pledged to militarily defend Taiwan should China invade Taiwan, although the US officially maintains its position on the “one China policy”. Following the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States would most likely assist Taiwan by at least granting it the “military means to defend itself.” During the Shangri-La dialogue, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin condemned Beijing’s provocative activities near Taiwan and underscored Washington’s commitment to “resist any use of force or any other form of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people”. from Taiwan. And US Navy warships recently crossed the Taiwan Strait to show support for Taiwan and demonstrate Washington’s “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

To express his support for Taiwan, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently confirmed that “there is no change in Australia’s position” regarding Taiwan’s security. In the times to come, Canberra is likely to follow chops. Australia’s ties with China have soured, primarily due to China’s economic coercion of Australia, leading to Canberra’s closer engagement with the Quad and AUKUS, a security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. commercial ties between Canberra and Taipei alongside the Australians are increasingly supportive of Australia’s defense of Taiwan. Yet Australia’s commitment to the “one China policy” may still act as a roadblock that could prevent Canberra from engaging militarily in a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

And then there’s India, the only member country that has yet to publicly endorse Taiwan’s membership in the Quad. For India, the importance of Taiwan is more economic than political. In the eyes of Indian leaders, New Delhi would be negatively affected if it abandoned its development partnership with China. Inherently, India and China – both members of the BRICS Platform for Developing Powers as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an Asian security grouping – “advocate for the reform of economic institutions worlds” while sharing “a common vision for a multipolar world”. world order”. True to form, India is unlikely to verbally support Taiwan at the cost of undermining New Delhi’s ties with Beijing.

So far, Taiwan is still far from being the first item on the Quad’s agenda. When the Quad offers support to Taiwan, it tends to be a consequence of deteriorating relations with Beijing. For the group, China’s rise to global power is probably more concerning than Beijing’s occupation of Taipei. Instead of a deal-based point of view, the Quad maintains a broad view of the island. There is little real reason to hope for formal cooperation between the Quad and Taipei under a “Quad plus Taiwan” format.

Either way, Taiwan has asserted its central role in the Indo-Pacific, both politically and economically. In addition to serving as a democratic middle power in Asia-Pacific and a strategic hub linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Taiwan has become an important partner of the Quad, especially in terms of economic cooperation. As the world’s major high-tech manufacturing hub, Taiwan could be a crucial part of the “Supply Chain Resilience Initiative” proposed by India, Australia and Japan “to address disruptions in the supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region”. Taiwan’s vital role as a “critical node” within the global semiconductor supply chain is also of strategic importance to the Quad amid the group’s deteriorating ties with China. Due to its important strategic role, the Quad has good reason to support Taiwan.

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What is the next step for the Quadruple on Taiwan Iproblem ?

Given Taiwan’s prominence in the regional theater, it is imperative for the Quad to treat China’s bullying of Taiwan as a doomsday scenario that could affect the entire world rather than just the Taiwan Strait. Proactive actions must be taken by the four powers, including concerted attempts to transform the Quad into a legalized and institutionalized mechanism as well as to develop concrete strategic synergy and defense cooperation with Taiwan.

In return, Taiwan should strengthen its self-defense capabilities and prove itself as a crucial diplomatic card in the region by shrewdly persuading the Quad to engage in dialogues and communications with the island democracy. In addition, Taiwan needs to play a proactive role in the Indo-Pacific, perhaps strengthening its soft power engagement with countries in the region by upgrading the current New Southbound Policy to version 2.0 and strengthening ties with like-minded middle powers, such as New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Given these actions recommended for both parties, the Quad and Taiwan would also be able to maintain the regional balance of power while preventing a “power vacuum”, which China could take advantage of not only to exert its coercive influence. on Taiwan, but also intimidate other relatively smaller Indo-Pacific nations. Overall, Taiwan’s security should not be taken for granted; a mistake would be a reckless decision with massive consequences. Amid geostrategic and value-based divisions between democracies and autocracies, the Quad and Taiwan have a responsibility to forge mutual cooperation to make deterrence relevant.

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