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US should prioritize Taiwan over Ukraine: Analysts

Former defense dept. official, academic say China could menace Taiwan as US deals with situation in Europe

Chinese Navy sailing in South China Sea.

Chinese Navy sailing in South China Sea. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. should prioritize Taiwan’s defense over the current situation in Ukraine, analysts said recently.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby and Oriana Skylar Mastro, research fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “China poses an increasingly imminent threat to Taiwan” and that the People’s Liberation Army’s offensive capabilities are growing. “Denying China the ability to dominate Asia is more important than anything happening in Europe,” they said.

The analysts said the U.S. should defend Taiwan to maintain credibility in American efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. Because Taiwan is part of the first island chain, if it falls to the Chinese, the U.S. will not be able to easily defend vital allies like Japan and the Philippines, and China will be able to project military power close to the U.S. and its territories.

Colby and Mastro noted that Taiwan is an “economic powerhouse,” as demonstrated by its status as America’s ninth-largest trading partner and its near-monopoly of advanced semiconductor technology.

It is impossible for the U.S. to protect Taiwan from China if it is preoccupied elsewhere, they said. “Taiwan is more important than Ukraine.”

The two said the Biden administration cannot allow China to think it has “a window of opportunity” to seize Taiwan as the U.S. focuses on Eastern Europe.