torsdag 24. februar 2022

Putin’s Aggression Against Ukraine Deals a Blow to China’s Hopes for Taiwan

On June 25, 1950, with Joseph Stalin’s backing, North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung sent troops across the thirty-eighth parallel, hoping to unify the Korean Peninsula by force. China’s leader, Mao Zedong, lent his support to the effort, but soon found that doing so put Taiwan out of his reach. While the United States had essentially washed its hands of the nationalists one year prior, President Truman declared that “in these circumstances the occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area.”

 To prevent an attack on Formosa (Taiwan), President Truman ordered the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Taiwan Strait. The Soviet Union’s decision to encourage North Korean aggression ended up costing China the chance to bring Taiwan under its control. Nearly three-quarters of a century later, China’s support of Russian aggression against Ukraine will similarly undermine its interests in the Taiwan Strait.

Counterintuitively, the months leading up to Putin’s attack on Ukraine have increased the focus on Taiwan, with analysts weighing whether Russian aggression against Ukraine would invite a similar Chinese attack on Taiwan. Many who are advocating the United States do less to counteract Russian aggression against Ukraine are doing so by arguingthat it is a distraction from the graver danger: a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.