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China’s Official Response to Abe: We Will “Take All Necessary Measures”

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Floyd Ciruli

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The Chinese Consul-General in Los Angeles responded to the April 12 column of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a clearly authorized (and probably drafted) Foreign Ministry letter to the editor. It contained all the basic arguments China’s uses for their policy of return of Taiwan to China.

Abe, who remains a power in Japanese politics, was advocating an evolving position in Japanese and U.S. foreign policy circles concerning the importance of Taiwan to the West and China’s timeline to retrieve the island. Based on more than a decade of China’s statements and behavior, especially under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the growing consensus is that Xi, who’s about to secure another five-year term, will take action before he leaves office.

The importance of Taiwan to the U.S. and its democratic allies has also increased in the last decade. Besides the obvious value of the island as a functioning democratic state, with the 21st largest economy in the world (4 times larger than Ukraine (55th)) and a long-term relationship with the U.S., including a security guarantee that any change in its status must be, as mostly recently stated by President Joe Biden to Xi, “peacefully accomplished.”

Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping

But, it’s China’s stated ambitions and aggressive action the last decade that has enhanced Taiwan to near existential importance. If China intends on being the dominant power in the Indo-Pacific, then Taiwan may be the most important asset for both sides. Of course, its close ally, Russia, has just heightened concern that most of the current deterrence assumptions may fail.

If and when Ukraine fades in attention, expect Taiwan and China front and center with much more aggressive security and deterrence concepts.

Read The Forum: Will the U.S. and Japan Step Up for Taiwan?