TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On the eve of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday (Feb. 23) said that the reason why the world is so worried about a crisis in the Taiwan Strait is because it is not China's "internal matter," but concerns the whole world and a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would have catastrophic consequences for the global economy.
Blinken was invited to attend an online event hosted by The Atlantic and spoke with its Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which will reach its one-year anniversary on Friday (Feb. 24). During the interview, Goldberg asked whether Russia's "reinvasion" of Ukraine made it more or less likely that China would take military action against Taiwan in the near future.
Blinken said the fact that many countries in Europe and beyond have understood that it "could open a Pandora's box" if such military aggression by Russia was permitted without consequences. He said that was why Japan and South Korea have been "our staunchest partners in this effort from day one."
He asserted that with so many countries teaming up in response to Russia's invasion, it is something "China factors into its own thinking about Taiwan." He stressed that the sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia are "doing serious damage" and the effects will only continue to accumulate.
Blinked suggested that Beijing will have to take the strong possibility of sanctions into account when considering an invasion of Taiwan. He said China will also need to weigh the "huge reputational costs" Russia has suffered as a result of the invasion.
The secretary of state then emphasized that one important reason why the world is so focused on a potential war in the Taiwan Strait is that it is "not an internal matter." Rather, it is a "matter of concern for quite literally the entire world."
He noted that 50% of commercial container traffic passes through the Taiwan Strait on a daily basis. He also highlighted that a high percentage of the semiconductors used by the world for a broad spectrum of electronic devices are manufactured in Taiwan.
Blinken argued that if there was a crisis in the strait caused by Chinese military actions, it would have "disastrous consequences for the world economy and for countries around the world." He then concluded, "And that's a message too that Beijing is hearing increasingly."