Region of Concern: Taiwan
Written By Laura Arrijuria; Edited by Elenan Alice Rossetti
Date: September 13, 2023
Map of Taiwan
Event: On Wednesday, Taiwan's defense ministry spotted 28 Chinese air force planes in the island’s air defense identification zone as they were joining the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong for military drills. More than 20 Chinese warships sailed to the Pacific, after the arrival of a Chinese naval formation on Monday. On Saturday, US and Canadian warships crossed the Taiwan Strait for military exercises in the South China Sea. On Tuesday, China announced new measures for Taiwan’s economic “integration” while the island declared China is reinforcing air power along the coast facing Taiwan. Japan dispatched a defense official to Taiwan to deepen bilateral security ties.
Significance: China will very likely seek to discourage any foreign involvement by showing it would possess the operational capabilities to militarily encircle Taiwan. China will almost certainly continue to claim sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait and will very likely reject any foreign presence in the area without its approval. The US and its regional allies will very likely pursue operations through the Strait to uphold their stance on the freedom of navigation principle. Geopolitical divisions and diplomatic disputes regarding the region will very likely increase as China will almost certainly continue to allege foreign countries of cooperation with Taiwan through their military presence in the area. Chinese air power presence on the coast facing Taiwan likely signifies China is enhancing its plan to hinder Taiwan’s independence. The new Chinese economic measures to foster integrated development with Taiwan and its increasing military presence near the island are very likely part of the Chinese strategy to pressure Taiwan’s democratically elected government. China is very likely signaling to Taiwan it has either the option to choose a co-development path with China, enjoying economic gains, or face further Chinese military presence and drills for a potential military intervention. China’s aggressive stance toward the island will very likely grow in response to the newly appointed Japanese defense official in Taiwan and Chinese military activities are very likely to occur in the areas between Japan and Taiwan.
Recommendations: CTG recommends Taiwan and Japan increase their collaboration in intelligence sharing and cooperate to enhance preparedness for potential future Chinese military exercises and increased presence in the Indo-Pacific. Japan should diplomatically pressure China for a slowdown in its military exercises, to limit military drills on Taiwan, and raise caution, underlining the ripple effects of a potential military incident during these exercises. The US should maintain its diplomatic relations with China, as part of the One China Policy, while also reiterating its call for peaceful solutions and a de-escalation of the military activities near Taiwan. Taiwan should call for an immediate stop to Chinese military activities near its coasts and remind the country of the risk of jeopardizing regional security. Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Latin America and the Indo-Pacific should voice their support for regional stability. They should strengthen their trade partnerships and investment in the island to balance China’s potential economic pressure over their ties with Taiwan.
 Taiwan reports 28 Chinese air force planes in its air defence zone, The Times of India, September 2023, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/taiwan-reports-28-chinese-air-force-planes-in-its-air-defence-zone/articleshow/103623345.cms
 China touts economic gains for Taiwan in co-development plan with Fujian, Reuters, September 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-outlines-plan-make-fujian-zone-cross-strait-development-with-taiwan-2023-09-12/
 Taiwan says China bolstering air power along coastline facing island, Reuters, September 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taiwan-says-china-bolstering-air-power-along-coastline-facing-island-2023-09-12/
 Japan elevates Taiwan security ties in move likely to rile China, Reuters, September 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-elevates-taiwan-security-ties-move-likely-rile-china-2023-09-12/