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Taiwanese warned cross-strait conflict could mean sacrifice

Former US national security expert highlights precarious situation facing Taiwan

Former US Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger

Former US Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese may have to make sacrifices and bolster preparedness if the nation is pushed to the brink of war with China, warned a former U.S. official.

Matt Pottinger, who was the U.S. deputy national security advisor from September 2019 until January of this year, called for increased global attention to the Asia-Pacific flashpoint. The U.S. and the rest of the world should take action to deter conflict in the region, he said at a video conference at Florida International University’s School of International & Public Affairs Wednesday (Feb. 3).

If China were able to force unification upon Taiwan, it would mean the extinction of the first successful, prosperous Chinese-speaking democracy. This would have ramifications for the U.S. and beyond, CNA quoted Pottinger as saying.

The U.S. would risk war with China, and if it loses to Beijing, its reputation as an ally of regional players would be damaged. The scenario is also likely to significantly impact the supply chain for global semiconductor production and lead to conflict between China and Japan or India, he reckoned.

The former Trump administration official also exhorted Taiwanese to take stock of the situation and acknowledge Beijing’s ambitions. He advised them to brace for what could be in store for them and make the necessary sacrifices.

Jim Risch, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said events in Hong Kong make the future of Taiwan a compelling issue. The military balance is changing, which poses a threat to American troops and its partners, he added.

Lauding Taiwan as a democratic model, Risch said the country has the right to decide its fate without intimidation. He stressed that the tech competition with China is at stake and that Taiwan should be at the top of the geopolitical agenda in the coming decade.