In its push for full independence, Taipei looks to the Obama administration
for support, a move that could result in a catastrophic war.
On Monday, Taiwan announced plans to test-fire the newly acquired US-made
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile defense shield next month amid
heightened tensions with China.
The United States will host the anti-missile system test at the White
Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The test will be conducted in the US
rather than Taiwan to limit Beijing’s ability to gather information on the
As part of his "Asian Pivot," US President Barack Obama has made it a
mission in recent years to limit China’s influence in the Pacific region
by propping up the defense capabilities of Beijing’s neighbors. Recent
acts of overt US provocation against Beijing include leaking stories of
splintering in Xi Jinping’s administration, installing a missile shield in
South Korea that stretches the entirety of the Chinese mainland, meddling
in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, massive naval
exercises with Japan and India along the mainland’s eastern flank,
establishing a defense agreement with Vietnam after a five decades
embargo, and penning an unprecedented military defense partnership with
Tokyo, among other measures.
Although just the latest in a long-line of aggressive overtures by the
increasingly hawkish Obama administration, this latest offense may prove
to be more damning in light of Taiwan’s volatile ties with China after
Taipei established a regional government separate from the government in
Those relations have taken a turn for the worse of late, after President
Tsai Ing-wen took office in May on a message of economic and political
nationalism that led to an end of the eight-year rapprochement between
Taipei and Beijing. President Tsai, Taiwan’s first female president,
spurred the ire of Xi Jinping’s government after refusing to disavow her
calls for full Taiwanese independence.
On Saturday, China suspended all diplomatic contact with Taiwan,
turning the region into a tinderbox that could explode into a
full-scale war at any moment. China maintains that Taiwan remains part
of its territory.
With cross-strait ties deteriorating, the United States has inserted
itself into a potential conflict by providing Taipei with a missile
shield to counter the Chinese military.