Strengthening Deterrence & Defence in the Taiwan Strait

J. Michael Cole, Jude Blanchette, Shelley Rigger, & David Sacks

In this week’s Expert Series, J. Michael Cole (Tapei-based Senior Advisor on Countering Foreign Authoritarian Influence (CFAI) at the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Washington D.C.), Jude Blanchette (Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)), Shelley Rigger (Brown Professor of East Asian Politics, Davidson College), and David Sacks (fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations) join us to discuss the history of Cross-Strait relations, Taiwan’s military and logistical capabilities, the role of the United States in deterring conflict in the Taiwan Strait, CCP influence strategies and PLA activities in the Taiwan strait, and Taiwan’s strategic significance to the PRC. The panel dissects the defence capabilities needed by Taiwan in response to China’s military posture, the Chinese Communist Party’s use of political warfare, sharp power, and ideological narratives in shaping international order and influencing Taiwan.

J. Michael Cole discusses various strategies employed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Xi Jinping, extending beyond military capabilities to include covert influence through economic leverage and engagement. Jude Blanchette focuses on China’s strategic interest in Taiwan, Taiwan’s ideological significance for the Communist Party, as well as the reunification narrative, which Beijing sees as crucial to rectifying historical humiliations. 

Shelley Rigger provides a historical backdrop of cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan, emphasizing the stark disparities in their perceptions of key events. David Sacks argues that Taiwan, confronted by China’s formidable military capabilities, must invest in a broad spectrum of defence capabilities. He also stresses the global implications of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, emphasizing the economic, geopolitical, and democratic consequences.

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