Americans Stand With Taiwan Against China’s Reunification Aspirations

Americans Stand With Taiwan Against China’s Reunification Aspirations

Chinese aggression against Taiwan is jeopardizing the peace in the region. While the threat is likely not imminent, Americans want the U.S. to protect its ally.

tippinsights Editorial Board

Record air intrusions by China into the Taiwanese airspace, over the past few days, have raised tensions in the region and questions regarding its allies’ commitment towards Taiwan’s autonomy and security.

In the TIPP Poll of 1,308 Americans completed on Saturday, we asked, "IF China were to try to invade Taiwan, should the U.S:"

  • Come to the defense of Taiwan via an increase of economic sanctions on China
  • Come to the defense of Taiwan directly via military action
  • Combination of military action and economic sanctions on China
  • Allow China to take Taiwan

The charts below show the results.

TIPP Poll Results: Americans being asked how should the U.S respond if China were to invade Taiwan chart
TIPP Poll Results: Asking Americans what they think is the best way to defend Taiwan against China

When we allocate those who support both military and economic sanctions, the support for economic sanctions is 43%, and military action is 41%.  Only 7% said the U.S. should allow China to take Taiwan. 31% are not sure.

China's Reunification Aspiration And Recent Aggression

On July 1, 2021, the CCP's centennial, Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed that Taiwan would be reunited with the People's Republic of China, "bloodlessly" or not.

"Solving the Taiwan question and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the Chinese Communist Party and the common aspiration of all Chinese people," Xi said. "All sons and daughters of China, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must work together and move forward in solidarity, resolutely smashing any 'Taiwan independence' plots."

China has escalated its belligerence in the last four days, sending nearly 150 sorties near Taiwan. Since the beginning of the year, Chinese military jets and bombers, many with nuclear capabilities, have intruded on the island's airspace around 600 times.

These acts of aggression are sandwiched between China's National Day on October 1 and Taiwan's National Day on October 10.

Taiwan's Response

Taiwan has been increasingly under threat from the mainland. Besides aerial sorties, Chinese naval vessels have been spotted near Taiwanese waters, and innumerable cyber attacks have targeted the island.

The island has been steadily increasing its military budget and upgrading its defense systems in response. Taiwanese Foreign Minister stated that Taiwan was willing to fight Beijing "to the end" and even sought Australia's support to prepare for war.

In response to the past four days' action, the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. "is very concerned by the People's Republic of China's provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability."

China's spokeswoman responded, "Taiwan belongs to China, and the U.S. is in no position to make irresponsible remarks."

Our Analysis

Beijing has flexed its military muscle in every instance it perceived Taiwanese actions as stepping out of line. In September, Taiwan applied to the 11-nation CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal, just days after China made its formal application.

The heightened aggression could be Beijing's attempt to dissuade the international community from deepening its ties with Taiwan.

Beijing feels implicitly targeted as the U.S. forges treaties and agreements like AUKUS and QUAD. The CCP could also be testing these before they bond and strengthen.

In the face of the U.S. botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, some believe that China is testing America's resolve to aid its ally.

There is enough reason to believe the Chinese aggression is more for show than an immediate annexation.

  • China is already on the back foot for covering up the pandemic outbreak, which has claimed the lives of over four million people worldwide.
  • China is in the grip of an energy crisis, which is likely to slow down its overall economic growth.
  • China has to deal with the Evergrande situation as well as the broader housing sector's weakness. It is as yet unclear if these events will cause another global contagion.
  • Beijing's 2022 Winter Olympics opens in just four months on February 4. It is the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games - a matter of great prestige - and will not jeopardize its success.
  • Xi Jinping is angling for a third term, unprecedented in recent history, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) holds its 20th National Party Congress in October 2022. While seeming aggressive, the Chinese Premier is unlikely to draw the country into an all-out war.

Democracies in the region, namely Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, India, Taiwan, and Japan, regularly face the dragon's wrath. Americans want the U.S. to protect Taiwan, and the Biden administration must devise comprehensive plans to counter China's hegemony in the region, emphasizing Taiwan's protection.


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