US think tank advisors: Taiwan should up military capabilities

Experts from two leading US think tanks say now is the time for Taiwan to strengthen its armed forces

Glaser (second from right) during a CSIS conference in 2017 (New America/Flickr)

Glaser (second from right) during a CSIS conference in 2017 (New America/Flickr)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lead researchers at two top U.S. think tanks have said now is the time for Taiwan to up its offensive and defensive military capabilities.

While enjoying a fruitful, cooperative relationship with the U.S., as China’s economy decelerates and its international influence therefore begins to wane, representatives of both the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) believe Taiwan should try to strengthen its armed forces.

Liberty Times emailed CSIS senior advisor Bonnie Glaser, who told the news outlet growing U.S. support will enable such developments. Glaser said the U.S. and Taiwan have inherent shared interests and values that provide a solid foundation for continued expansion in cooperative ventures.

Glaser added that U.S.-Taiwan economic relations have flourished, and government interaction and cooperation on security matters has continued to strengthen over the past 40 years. She believes the central tenet underpinning these developments is Taiwan’s status as a thriving democracy, and the common values and interests it therein holds with the U.S.

The expert also stated current circumstances provide Taiwan with a window of opportunity to strengthen its economy and national defense capabilities that it must seize in order to safeguard the current lifestyle of its people. The current level of support the U.S. maintains for Taiwan, which is exhibited across many domains and includes arms sales and the implementation of projects such as the U.S.-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework, will continue to grow, she added.

CRS representative Shirley Kan told Liberty Times that the Taiwan Relations Act, already in effect for 40 years, is law, so its impact on U.S. foreign policy is significant. She stated the most critical article of the agreement is that which ensures the U.S. safeguards Taiwan’s capacity for self-defence, which is both a guarantee and an obligation, she said.

Kan stressed that now is a crucial time for Taiwan to develop its capabilities for asymmetric warfare, because China is attempting to change the status quo, and it will not relent its intentions to eliminate the democratic lifestyle of Taiwanese citizens.

Kan said she is optimistic that U.S. support for Taiwan will continue to grow in the future. More top-level politicians from both sides will be able to meet, U.S. active duty officers may visit Taiwan more frequently, and there may be increased military interaction, she said.