Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Kathrin Hille quoted a compelling point made by General Douglas MacArthur about Taiwan’s unmistakable strategic value as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the Asia-Pacific (Global insightDecember 30). Seventy years later, echoes of his language can be heard echoing in Washington’s China policy and decision-making community. But would the US help Taiwan if and when China invades the democratic island nation, which is also a key player in the global semiconductor and high-tech supply chain?

After diplomatic recognition was transferred from Taipei to Beijing, the US, in terms of its obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and several other pieces of legislation approved by Congress, apparently only said it would help Taiwan defend itself. through arms sales and low-profile security cooperation.

Over the decades, Washington has reaffirmed that its (not Beijing’s) “one China” policy is unchanged, but with a long-standing belief in “strategic ambiguity”. When China pressed to explain whether the US would extend a quick helping hand to the island republic under attack, one of the standard responses so far has been: “We do not know, and you do not know!”

Stanley Soos
Taipei, Taiwan

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