Over the last few years, China — formally The People’s Republic of China — has become more aggressive with its actions toward Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China. This aggression, which includes actions like routine air force exercises in Taiwan’s airspace and sailing warships through the Taiwan Strait, has led to increased concern with the stability of the region as China continues to become more powerful and bold with territorial claims. One of the most pressing questions raised is what role the United States should play in defending Taiwan from Chinese aggression, or if the U.S. should take any action at all. 

 

None of the options available for the United States to take are perfect, and have some considerable cons or reasons to be weary. If the U.S. was to take military action to protect Taiwan from Chinese encroachment, then the already high tension between the two global superpowers would more than likely continue to grow. However, leaving Taiwan to fend for itself would allow China to continue to grow and expand unchecked, creating instability and strain in the Asian continent. 

 

We have already seen one example of Chinese overbearing going poorly with its takeover of Hong Kong from the British during their decolonization process. As time has gone on, China has begun to abandon its commitment to the One Country, Two Systems policy put in place with the city-states of Hong Kong and Maccau. This has led to massive unrest as people from Hong Kong protest against the anti-democratic system China installed. 

 

In the best interest of the people of Taiwan and U.S. international interests, the United States should seek to protect Taiwan from a Chinese attempt at annexation. The last two presidential administrations have taken action to protect Taiwan. In an interview with CNN, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed the presence of U.S. Troops in Taiwan with the intent of training Taiwanese troops. Further, Pres. Joe Biden invited Taiwan to a virtual summit on Thursday, Dec. 9, and Friday, Dec. 10, to discuss the international state of Democracy. According to Reutuers, the Chinese Government opposed the invitation and President Xi of China said that, in doing so, the US was “playing with fire.” 

 

To best be prepared to assist Taiwan against Chinese forces, the United States should continue to station troops on the island with the intent of training Taiwanese Personnel. The U.S. Government should also remain committed to Taiwan economically and diplomatically to continue to show strong support of Taiwan and to promote stability in the region.

While the U.S. should take action to defend Taiwan, it’s important the government doesn’t fall into its extensive history of failed nation building. Protecting democracy and resisting Chinese imperialism should be the goal, and the U.S. should go no further than that. Any attempt to control the government for American political benefit should not happen. This would overstep Taiwan’s right to self-determination, which is simply independence from the mainland Chinese Government.

 

In order to protect Taiwanese sovereignty, the United States should ensure the independence of the island nation. With the looming threat of China in the region and across the globe, protecting democracy is the logical decision to make.