China: May 28, 2004

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China apparently believes it can more easily defeat the Taiwanese armed forces with strong words, rather than more modern weapons. China has put enormous economic and diplomatic pressure on countries that even consider selling advanced weaponry to Taiwan. Even the United States gets this treatment, and, to a certain extent, it works. There is a growing block of legislators and voters in America that believes China should not be crossed when it comes to arming Taiwan. All of this plays into a growing complacency among Taiwanese voters, who are growing increasingly reluctant to pay for new, and expensive, weapons. Many Taiwanese believe that the United States will protect them, mainly because Taiwan's high tech economy is, in effect, a key part of the American economy. It's true that Taiwan produces many electronic components that are essential for the smooth running of the American economy. But nothing made in Taiwan is irreplaceable.  This is the Chinese view, and China believes that, year by year, Taiwan becomes weaker militarily, while China modernizes and becomes stronger. Eventually, China can attack Taiwan and win, even if the United States intervenes. This sort of siege approach may take another decade or two. But in the Chinese scheme of thinking, such patience is an accepted approach.

 

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