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Panel: Ukraine Was Wake-up Call to Taiwan and its Allies

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Floyd Ciruli

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President Tsai Ing-wen and President Xi Jinping

Japanese and American professors on March 23 analyze the impact of the invasion of Ukraine on the policies of the Indo-Pacific and especially what it means for Taiwan.

Key Points

From March 23 Webinar: Taiwan, Japan and U.S. Relations After Ukraine

  • The Ukraine invasion is a wake-up call to the Taiwanese people. Polls in December showed 40 percent of Taiwan’s people would pick up weapons if invaded. Now it’s at 74 percent.
  • Russia made several serious mistakes with the Ukraine invasion and Beijing is observing those. If Beijing considers invading Taiwan, it will better mobilize cyber warfare and shorten the time it takes to invade and occupy Taiwan. Otherwise, the international community will come together to support Taiwan.
  • China initially used what it called a “peaceful offensive” against Taiwan to keep the two economies intertwined. Since Xi has been president, he considers a divided nation unacceptable. Xi is now willing to sacrifice economic interests for sovereignty. Adm. Philip Davidson, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, predicts a Taiwan invasion “in the next 6 years.”
  • Japan’s strategic thinking on Taiwan has shifted to a much higher level of attention in recent years. It is less than 100 miles from Japan’s southern most island. Taiwan’s economy and the Indo-Pacific waterway are critical to Japan. Also, China’s official statements and behavior toward Taiwan are now more aggressive and urgent.
  • The U.S.-Taiwan relationship has increased in the last decade. While it has never said it would come to Taiwan’s rescue, the U.S. has sold weapons to Taiwan for its defense. Polls show 52 percent of the U.S. public believes we should defend Taiwan. If China takes military action, it has to assume the U.S. will be involved. China isn’t ready to fight the U.S., just as the U.S. doesn’t want to fight China.

In a panel moderated by Professor Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center, the participants were:

  • Koji Murata – Professor, Doshisha University, Kyoto
  • Suisheng Zhao – Professor, Korbel School Director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation
  • Floyd Ciruli – Professor, Korbel School Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
Panel of experts

Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver and the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, with the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, sponsored the event.