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War across Taiwan Strait unlikely in 2018: U.S. scholars

2018/01/03 14:13:41

Washington, Jan. 3 (CNA) Several U.S. scholars believe China's recent military and cyber actions constitute a threat to regional security, but they do not believe it likely that the situation will escalate into war in 2018.

In an interview with CNA, Ian Easton, an analyst from the U.S. think tank Project 2049 Institute, said China's increasing military activities, both in the form of drills near Taiwan and large-scale cyberattacks, are a threat to security in the region.

He described the threat as one that has surpassed the limits of what the international community can accept.

Michael Chase, of Rand Corporation, another U.S. think tank, described what China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) was doing as "deterrent diplomacy," in which it was spreading threats through its fighter jets and social media pages in both Chinese and English.

As part of China's campaign of intimidation, the PLA deployed military aircraft 23 times and aircraft carriers twice on training missions not far from Taiwan between August 2016 and December 2017, according to a report by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense.

Yet while tensions across the Taiwan Strait are on the rise, neither Easton nor Chase believed that war is inevitable or imminent.

Easton recommended that as the U.S. reiterates its commitment to supporting Taiwan's defense capabilities, it should provide Taiwan with fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, including the new F-16 and F-35 fighters.

The U.S. should also be cooperating with Taiwan in the areas of land and naval warfare, missile defense, and cyber security, he said.

(By Leaf Jiang and Kuan-lin Liu)