Daily Memo: Taiwan Deploys Troops to the South China Sea

This is the second such deployment over the past couple of months.

Taiwan deploys troops to the South China Sea. Taiwan is deploying a company of some 200 marines to reinforce a coast guard garrison in the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, located around 275 miles (440 kilometers) to the south in the South China Sea. This is the second such move by Taiwan over the past couple of months. Both have been made amid reports that China was planning massive military exercises in nearby waters simulating an amphibious landing and occupation of islands like the Pratas. Beijing is under increasing pressure, both from internal political forces and from gradually increasing U.S. support for the self-ruled “renegade province,” to reverse Taiwan’s slow drift away from the mainland’s grasp. China is keen to achieve two things on the military front: One is to make Taipei conclude that a Chinese takeover, whether by force or negotiation, is inevitable. The second is to sow doubt in Taipei about the U.S. willingness to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of a conflict. China cannot yet invade and hold Taiwan itself – at least not without incurring costs on a scale that Beijing could not stomach. But it can manufacture a crisis on Taiwan’s periphery, say, by seizing […]

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