Current Developments

Security Commentaries ( Sept 7th - Sept 11th )

Security Commentaries



This week, we take a look at the further escalation of territorial sovereignty regarding the border between India and China as well as a possible recommendation in US policy towards Taiwan.

Quarells on the Front

Reports from India ignited across multiple platforms when a video surfaced of what is allegedly a Su-35 piloted by China being shot down in Taiwanese airspace. Indian media reports promoted the story and by Friday morning the Taiwanese government quickly denied all events that had preceded. Experts speculate that this could've been a means to stir already uneasy tensions between Taiwan and China however it seems doubtful as this would be a rather risky move by both parties. 

India and China nevertheless also made news when both sides claimed the other fired “warning shots” which if confirmed breaks the pre-existing protocol regarding the use of these types of firearms in the area. The Line of Control , with both nations in disagreement to the actual length of the border, has been an area of immense tension in the region. This past June, 20 Indian soldiers were reportedly killed in a firefight against Chinese forces in disputed territory. The number of Chinese casualties is yet to be confirmed.

However, diplomacy still has a chance as both states foreign ministers are set to meet in Moscow to discuss a possible disengagement from the region and to push for more constructive dialogue. Whether or not both sides will agree or even follow protocols has been a problem since previous meetings that go back to 2015, and the window for a peaceful solution seems to be closing soon. 

A Push to be Even More Clear 

Indeed as China continues to display its sovereignty and expand its sphere of influence, this has ultimately caused an array of other states to either 1. restructure their policy towards cooperation with China or 2. adapt to a changing international landscape by making the necessary policy recommendations. In a piece from Foreign Affairs , Richard Haas , president of the Council on Foreign Relations, states that “American Support for Taiwan Must be Unambiguous… to keep the peace , make clear to China that force won’t stand”. In essence, this would mean switching the policy of “Strategic Ambiguity” , a stance that makes it unclear as to the degree that the US would intervene in a possible Chinese threat to Taiwan , towards something Haas coins as “Strategic Clarity”. This is a more pragmatic approach as the US would need to take an even more dominant security role in the region , in order to assure other allies (Japan, Korea) that it can be still relied on if such a situation were to arise. Hass argues not only the previous , but makes it apparent that in order to deter continued Chinese expansionism,  a position that makes it clear that the US will respond to Chinese force against Taiwan must be firmly taken to avoid war. 

It is important to remember that this wouldn't necessarily require the US to sign or agree anything via a document. However it would need to re-afrim the doctrine that if an attack were to occur in the Taiwan Strait, or in the Asia Pacific region for that matter, that the US would live up to its commitment of ensuring stability and security. In short, and to paraphrase the exceptionally long policy recommendation; by promising a reaction, we can thus avoid the initial action and any crisis associated with it.

-Jaime Ocon , Taiwan Center for Secuirty Studies