字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント China has been gearing up to invade Taiwan. And the US has failed to act. Is time running out? Welcome to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell. The Chinese Communist Party has become more and more aggressive with Taiwan. For instance, sending warplanes near the island nation. Like, a lot of warplanes. Especially when high level US officials are visiting. And that's because the Chinese Communist Party is in a bit of a fix. In the past it had said, by the year 2020, the Chinese Communist Party should be prepared to invade Taiwan. It basically made the mistake of all those old science fiction movies that were set in the far, far future of 1999. But the Chinese regime faces another challenge, in what it calls “reuniting” Taiwan. That challenge is the US. The US is showing unprecedented levels of support of Taiwan. Including selling them weapons. Like, a lot of weapons. All the weapons. So how has this changed China's invasion plans? I know the person I need to talk to. Joining me once again is Ian Easton, senior director at the Project 2049 Institute. Thanks for joining me Ian. Ian, it's always a pleasure to have you on. Chris, it's a great pleasure to see you. Thanks for having me. Definitely. So the Chinese Communist Party said it would be ready to retake Taiwan by 2020. I mean, I guess there's a few months left, but how likely do you think that is now? Well, I think happily they're not ready or if they are, they've decided that they're going to delay a potential attack on Taiwan, certainly by this time of the year, if they have not already mobilized, if they're not already prepared to launch amphibious fleets, and they're not, then their window of opportunity has closed. And so Taiwan is not safe from a potential conflict, of course, because there's a lot of other things that the Chinese Communist Party could do, but they are safe from invasion because from the end of this month forward, the sea states that the wind and the wave conditions and the Taiwan Strait make an invasion virtually impossible. And that won't change until the middle of late March of next year. So last time you were on the show, we talked about how Hong Kong in some ways had saved Taiwan because the communist party was so focused on Hong Kong, that it wasn't spending as much effort to threaten Taiwan. Now that the CCP has cracked down on Hong Kong, are things more dangerous for Taiwan? Yeah, I think it's much more dangerous now. To your point, the only good thing that has happened is that folks in Taiwan, and I think here in Washington, have started to wake up to the threat. They've seen what happened to Hong Kong. They've seen the backsliding on commitments that the Chinese Communist Party made. And they've seen this really terrible human right atrocity with the national security law, which is this draconian law, which really prevents any real freedom of press freedom of assembly. Any of the freedoms promised to the people of Hong Kong. I think that served as a wake-up call, and that's all to the good. The problem is, now that the world has been shocked by Hong Kong and really staggered by what has happened and not actually done anything to raise the costs for some of the Chinese Communist Party's outrageous behavior, I'm afraid that it could be the case that the CCP elite have drawn a conclusion from their experience that we really don't want them to draw. And that conclusion is that they can do almost anything. They can have concentration camps in Xinjiang. They can do this massive crackdown, which again, I think really shocked a lot of people in Hong Kong, and now they can threaten Taiwan and no one is going to stand up against them. And so I'm afraid that for those reasons and others, that it's going to be very difficult to prevent a crisis in the Taiwan Strait. So even though the window of opportunity for an invasion this year has passed, would you say that we should be more or less worried about an invasion of Taiwan in the next year versus this past year? Well, I think with every year that passes the balance of military power, and this is not my own assessment, but this is from the department of defense. And you can read the recently published report to Congress on Chinese military power. They released it last month. According to their assessments, China's military reform and reorganization program, which Xi Jinping started in early 2016, has really changed the nature of the threat that the United States faces and that Taiwan faces from the PLA, the People's Liberation Army. And because China really has engaged in this sweeping military buildup, I mean, it's really remarkable. It's actually stunning what they've been able to do just in the past five years. And if those trend lines continue into the future, as I think we have to expect them to do the balance will continue to tip in the favor of China and that will encourage them to do what they've said very publicly they aim to do, and that is to attack and eventually conquer Taiwan. And that's something that could drag us into a superpower war. So it's very dangerous. Well, so let's talk about the Chinese war planes flying over the median line in the Taiwan Strait. Before this year, they had done it very rarely, and now they send something like over 40 war planes across the line in the last few weeks. Why are they doing that? Is it to intimidate Taiwan? Or is there a tactical reason they're doing it? Well, there's a lot of benefits from them. And you could look at it from the tactical perspective. Every time they do that, they're able to gain intelligence that whenever they send fighters across the Taiwan Strait media line, which they no longer recognize that now they've officially denied that it ever existed. Even though everybody respected it for really the past two decades, every time they do that, they have intelligence gathering aircraft airborne, which are collecting signals and they have Taiwan on a stopwatch. And they're seeing how long it takes Taiwan to scramble its fighters. They're looking at their characteristics if the Taiwanese turn on their air defense radars, which I think might be tempting for them to do in certain circumstances, the Chinese can collect all of that electronic data and then they can use it in the future for deception purposes. They can use it to jam those radars if they know what frequencies they run on. And they can learn more about their electronic order of battle. There's a lot of tactical things they can do. They can also wear down the pilots in Taiwan. They can wear down the airframes in Taiwan because of the time we use military now is to constantly be on strip alert, and they constantly have to have fighter aircraft actually orbiting around Taiwan to respond to these incursions which are happening constantly now. That means that those are pilots and those are aircraft that are not available for training. They're not available for professional military education. They're not available for their other duties. And it really wears them down over time. I think there's been some mixed numbers that have come out. One report said that Taiwan now was doing 3,000 sorties a year. Another said 4,000 sorties a year in response to, well, over 2,000 Chinese military sorties around the Taiwan Strait area. I'm not sure what the actual numbers are, but if that's true, that is just staggering, because that really is going to overtime. That is going to wear out the pilots. It's going to wear out the airframes and it's going to reduce readiness in Taiwan. Now, of course, that's just the tactical issue. There's also the strategic issue. And the strategic issue is that the Chinese Communist Party has decided to create a crisis in the Taiwan Strait. And they have done everything in their power with their propaganda services, with their military exercises across from Taiwan. I mean, there's recently amphibious landing exercises, which they highlighted. And they said explicitly that they're preparing to invade Taiwan in addition to all that aircraft activity. And in addition to cyber attacks. Taiwan's constantly being hit by cyber attacks. And so there's a lot of provocations going on right now. And one of the questions is why. And that's a question I think that remains open to some debate and interpretation, but it's an important one. Well, I know China was also previously very interested in economic or political infiltration in Taiwan. And I was in Taiwan earlier this year for the election and my impression was that China was genuinely surprised that Tsai Ing-wen won re-election. How does that affect their strategy? Well, it certainly made it much more difficult for them to infiltrate Taiwan and to subvert Taiwan's democratic government from within. If the opposition candidate had won, or if the DPP had not won such a sweeping victory, because they really did win this crushing victory in their parliament in addition to the presidency, obviously president Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected. If that had not happened, if that election had gone another way, I think that would have been very dangerous for Taiwan's national security because the opposition party has so many members whose own behavior in the past, a lot of which has now come to light, is very questionable. And it's very questionable why certain KMT politicians decided to go to Beijing and to sing the national anthem of the people's Republic of China. Very questionable why one of their leading political candidates is soon to go to the China youth forum organized by the Chinese Communist Party, but refuses to come visit the United States. And even before the COVID-19 pandemic, they were refusing to come to the United States and they would just constantly go to China instead. I think those are some worrying signs. Locally to your earlier point, what happened in Hong Kong did wake people up in Taiwan. They didn't see the threat of subversion. They saw what might happen if they elected pro Beijing politicians or politicians who might be under the influence of the Chinese Communist Party and could be coerced. And so they voted a different way. And I think we're very lucky that they did because ensuring Taiwan survival as a democracy, it's not only in the interest, of course, of the Taiwanese people, it's also in the interest of the American people, that if we lose Taiwan, our entire strategic posture in Asia will be devastated by that. It would be the worst thing to happen to the United States in terms of geo-politics. It'd be a worst thing to happen since world war II. And so it's really, I think fortunate for us that Taiwan is governed now by administration, which takes the challenges that they have very seriously. Well, so on that point. Many countries around the world are changing their stands toward the CCP. And now there are even alliances like the quad that are forming to counter the Chinese Communist Party. How does Taiwan fit into that? Well, unfortunately, Taiwan doesn't fit in because our government policy in many ways is still mired in the past. That the way we treat Taiwan is the same way that we've treated Taiwan since the late 1970s, when we decided to close our embassy in Taipei and to de-recognize Taiwan's legitimate government. And then to recognize the Chinese Communist Party government, the People's Republic of China in Beijing. And since then, unfortunately, we've really treated Taiwan in many ways like a pariah. In some ways we treat North Korea better than we treat Taiwan. And it's really hypocritical because of course, Taiwan is this flourishing democracy. It's a very pro-American country. I've traveled to a lot of places in Asia and I can tell you that the Taiwanese people are about as pro-American as they come, and it really is a shame that so far, the Trump administration has not done a fundamental re-look at our Taiwan policy. But having said that, they have done a lot of good things. There's been a significant improvement in the amount of respect that Taiwan has given. There's been some high-level state department visits to Taiwan and of course, arm sales to try to support Taiwan's ability to maintain a credible self-defense. But I'm afraid it's really not enough. And if we continue to hold Taiwan at arms length, Taiwan will just become weaker over time. There's a lot more that we could do. I mean, we could have shipped businesses to Taiwan. We could do joint military exercises with the Taiwanese military to make sure that they're actually able to stand side-by-side with our forces in the Pacific. And if needs be defend our common interests from the Chinese attack. We could have a small number of U.S. troops or Marines stationed in Taiwan as a strategic trip line to make sure that Beijing is clear about our intentions if they invade. There's really a lot more that can be done. There's a lot of opportunities for the future in that regard. Why do you think those things haven't happened yet? Well, they haven't happened because people are afraid. Mm-hmm . Any time there is an election in Taiwan, anytime there's an arm sales notification to Taiwan, anytime there's a U.S. government visit to Taiwan, or even a tweet about Taiwan, people are terrified that that is going to be the trigger for a war because the Chinese Communist Party is constantly making these really radical threats in that regard. And no one wants to be the decision maker, the leader that's responsible for triggering a potential great power war. The problem with that type of reactive policy is that if you're constantly reacting to what the Chinese Communist Party wants, then you're not advancing towards what you want. And what we should want, I think is to treat a fellow democracy like a legitimate country, if it is, and Taiwan certainly is. And so then the question becomes, well, if we're going to do that, how do we do that in an innovative way? How do we do that in a creative way, such that we can maintain deterrence? We can make sure that China doesn't actually come to a place where they can consider an invasion of Taiwan a realistic option or a favorable option for them. And we can do it in such a way where we don't provide them a pretext for actually declaring war or just attacking out of the blue. I think it's going to require a lot more thought. So essentially the United States could do what China always does and use short of war tactics. Yeah. There's no question that if the United States government got a group of strategists together from the national security council, the state department, the Pentagon treasury, if they sat together and they said, "How can we recognize Taiwan's government in the next five years?" Obviously it's not something you want to do overnight, because again, that could actually provoke the very thing you want to prevent, but how could we do in five years? How can we stair-step it? How can we take small, incremental, but consistent steps into the future in such a way where five years from now we'll be in a much better place to dramatically, and in terms of deterrence, because we know that strategic ambiguity, which is our current policy, we know that doesn't work. We would never do that with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. We would never do that with any other. And in fact, we don't do that. We have not for the past seven years done that with any other democratic country that faces the type of existential threat that Taiwan does. And so then the question becomes, "How can we do it in the right way?" What are the creative solutions that might exist that no one's thought about before, because no one has asked the question before. Do you have any sense how Joe Biden administration might treat Taiwan? I don't know. This is something that I know a lot of people are very interested in, but of course we don't have evidence yet of what a potential future administration might do because they're not empowered yet. And so we don't know who is going to be his top advisors. There's some speculation out there, but we don't know for sure who his foreign policy team is going to be. And until you know who the team is going to be, it's really difficult to assess what their views are on any particular issue. But certainly whether it's president Biden come January 2021, or president Trump part two, this is probably going to be the most important question that they're going to have to grapple with in the coming four years. If they get it right, we'll be able to maintain peace in the region. If they get it wrong, I think we're going into a very dangerous future. And so it's really important that folks take it seriously. Well, thank you again for joining me and it's always a pleasure to have you on. Chris, it's my pleasure. Thanks so much. Thank you. And Ian Easton also joined us on the China Unscripted podcast this week to talk about the rise of the Chinese military—and whether war with the US is inevitable. I'll put the link below. Thanks for watching China Uncensored. Once again I'm Chris Chappell, see you next time.