Waters around Taiwan will become increasingly militarized: Defense analyst

China’s increased militarization of Indo-Pacific region leading to increased security concerns

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U.S. aircraft carrier (Pixabay photo)

U.S. aircraft carrier (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The waters around Taiwan — including the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the Philippine Sea — run the risk of seeing increased military movements, according to a new research paper.

The comments were made in a paper titled "U.S. Strategic Mobility in Deployment to Ensure Regional Security" by Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst, at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research, according to CNA.

The Indo-Pacific region now faces increasing tensions as a result of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and China's increased military reach, particularly in the South China Sea, where the Chinese have built artificial islands, deployed nuclear submarines, and claimed new administrative districts, according to Su.

The article points out that due to the absence of U.S. carrier strike groups in the region over the past few months amid the pandemic, China's military developments in the South China Sea have impacted regional security and the nuclear balance. But with the announcement by the U.S. Navy on May 10 that the Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Nimitz, Abraham Lincoln, and Gerald R. Ford aircraft carriers have returned to action, that balance has been somewhat restored, Su said.

Su also mentions the importance of watching how the U.S. changes its Indo-Pacific strategy to reflect a "strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable" approach as outlined in the U.S. 2018 National Defense Strategy. According to Su, examples of this strategy include flights in recent months of U.S. B-1B bombers in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

The U.S. is also looking to increase the combat capabilities of amphibious assault ships and has deployed anti-ship missiles with the army and marines for waterway deterrence when needed to support the navy, Su added.

According to the paper, the U.S. will strategically focus on exterior-line operations in order to suppress China's air and sea expansion on multiple fronts, with particular focus on the Miyako Strait, Bashi Channel, East China Sea, South China Sea, and Philippine Sea. Su also added that in the post-pandemic period, competition for land and sea power will be vital to political and regional security.