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US official warns Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be costly

Assistant Secretary Ely Ratner says isolating Taiwan will lead to global economic collapse

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner. 

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A blockade of Taiwan would be extremely costly for Beijing, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on Thursday (Oct. 5).

“The cost for Beijing looks very high and the risk looks very, very high,” Ratner said. The global economy would begin to collapse the instant its blockade begins, he said.

“There will be no one immune from the economic pain that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) would place on the world through doing that,” the assistant secretary said.

China considers a blockade as an alternative to force Taiwan to capitulate without deploying its military. The People's Liberation Army has ramped up incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, possibly in order to prepare for a potential all-out siege.

Ratner said there would be a concerted response from the world once the effects of the blockade spread. “The global community is going to rally around and against the PRC's actions because of what it is doing to the global economy, and Beijing will be inviting exactly the kind of counterbalancing diplomatic coalition that it is trying to avoid on this issue,” he said.

Ratner said that Beijing would have to decide whether to start attacking commercial vessels to sustain a blockade. Last month, the assistant secretary told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee that a blockade would give Taiwan's allies time to send supplies.