Trump prioritizes defense of Taiwan in strategy document

Under 'Priority Actions,' Trump reaffirms commitment to defend Taiwan and 'deter coercion' against it

President Donald Trump speaks on national security.

President Donald Trump speaks on national security. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In a strategy document released by U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, the defense of Taiwan is listed as a high priority.

In a section titled "The Strategy in a Regional Context" of the document, the Indo-Pacific region is mentioned first, indicating an emphasis on the area to the Trump administration. As part of the this emphasis on the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan is listed under the "Military and Security" heading under the subsection titled "Priority Actions."

In the passage, Trump writes:

"We will maintain our strong ties with Taiwan in accordance with our 'One China' policy, including our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide for Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs and deter coercion.

The first section acknowledges China's insistence that there is only one state on either side of the Taiwan Strait called China, which is a precondition to any discussion of Taiwan between the U.S. and China. However, in the same sentence, he then goes on to make reference to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which included the following military provision: "the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capabilities."

This indicates that Trump will continue to authorize arms sales to Taiwan, always a bone of contention with China, which he has been trying to appease over the first year of his term to gain concessions. However, as China has done little materially to restrain North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Trump may be trying to take a more hard-line approach.

The mentioning of the term "coercion" could refer to China's attempts to isolate and pressure Taiwan since electing President Tsai Ing-Wen and her subsequent refusal to acknowledge the "1992 Consensus."