China’s War on Taiwan Won’t Start in Taiwan

Beijing is still a long way from being able to invade and hold Taiwan, but it needs to do something to reverse the island's outward drift.

China is beginning to feel more restless about Taiwan – and a convergence of internal pressures in China, along with the belief in Beijing that Washington is too concerned with its own issues to stomach the costs of coming to Taipei’s defense, gives China reason to consider moving on Taiwan sooner rather than later. Politically, Taiwan’s independence is a scar on the Communist Party’s narrative of national rejuvenation. Making a bold move on Taiwan might be a fine way to stoke nationalist support and distract from the fallout of the coronavirus. Tactically, Beijing’s efforts to pull Taiwan back into the fold, through measures like economic coercion and political interference operations, have backfired, as support for Taiwanese independence, declared or de facto, is gradually building on the island. And if there was any hope of convincing Taipei that a “one country, two systems”-style arrangement was still feasible, that went out the window on June 30, when Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong. Meanwhile, U.S. efforts to starve Chinese giants like Huawei of microchips make controlling Taiwan – which has a near stranglehold on the world’s most advanced chipmaking equipment – a solution to China’s technological dependence on […]

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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.