Beijing continues to flex its muscles and escalate tensions with Taiwan. An increasing number of threats have heightened concern among the allies that may have to come to that country's defense should a military conflict occur.
American Family News spoke to retired U.S. Marine Colonel Grant Newsham, who became the first Marine Liaison Officer to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during his career.
“Threats from China should be taken very seriously,” he warns. “[But] America, in particular, has a habit of not taking adversaries seriously enough – even when they’re telling exactly what they intend to do.”
For China, he says, the threats are all about bringing Taiwan into their fold, contributing to its broader quest of global domination, as most experts agree.
In Newsham's view, the U.S. is the most formidable ally to Taiwan, promising to help protect the small country from China. But a “short list” of allies, he says, should also have interest in Taiwan's future – arguing that “the country that should have the greatest interest … from a security perspective is Japan.”
Newsham points out that reports about expansive threats from China have been widespread. “[And] many have heard the Japanese say that Taiwan’s defense is Japan’s defense,” he explains. “If Taiwan falls or is taken by the communist Chinese, Japan will find itself in an extremely vulnerable position.”
Should that happen, Newsham expects Japan's lines of communication and commerce through the South China Sea would be quickly cut off. But from his perspective, a greater problem is that the Chinese military would acquire “a platform in Taiwan [that] would provide China another avenue to venture eastwards [toward Japan].”
According to the expert and senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, “China will begin operating ships, aircraft, and submarines up through the east of Japan, an effort that could surround Taiwan should it fall [to China].”
By way of warning, Newsham adds: “Japan needs to take concrete steps to be able to respond militarily to a Chinese attack on Taiwan – and I don't feel like they are at the present time.”
A second country – an ally to both Taiwan and the United States – is Australia, which the retired Marine officer considers the “one country that has come closest to saying they will help Taiwan and provide other support as well, not the least of which would be economic support.”
“Yet, America remains the big dog,” he concludes. “Most other major countries have an interest in Taiwan and its freedom, but very few of them are actually going to be willing to do much about it.”
In fact, he suspects most of those countries will exert minimal efforts to defend Taiwan and be more concerned that they “avoid making the Chinese mad” – an approach, he warns, that could have grave consequences for the outcome of any conflict.