Express Web Review – A Few Highlights For The Week Of April 5th, 2021 (1 of 2)

I. China Rising

China-Taiwan Tensions RisingNikkei Asia, 7th April 2021


Taiwan will ‘fight to the end’ if there’s war foreign minister said on Wednesday. With China’s air force making almost daily forays in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. On Monday, China said an aircraft carrier group was exercising close to the island. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 15 Chinese aircraft including 12 fighters entered its air defense identification zone, with an anti-submarine aircraft flying to the south through the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.  “From my limited understanding of American decision makers watching developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan,” Joseph Wu told reporters at his ministry. “We are willing to defend ourselves without any questions and we will fight the war if we need to fight the war. And if we need to defend ourselves ot the very last we will defend ourselves to the very last day”.


Maritime Context In The East and South China Sea, South China Morning Post, 5 Apr. 2021


China and the United States have sailed aircraft carriers into contentious waters in the East and South China Sea, the latest maritime contest between the strategic rivals at a time of heightened tensions in the region. Analysts say their naval presence in the Indo-Pacific at the same time highlights the risk of military conflict between the powers, as Beijing asserts its maritime claims in the region more aggressively and Washington focuses its defense strategy on countering China. It comes amid a deepening dispute between Beijing and Manila over the presence of Chinese vessels – which the Philippines says are a maritime militia but China says are fishing boats – in the Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea.


China Reinforcing Its Outposts, NYT, 3 Apr. 2021


”Not long ago, China asserted its claims on the South China Sea by building and fortifying artificial islands in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Its strategy now is to reinforce those outposts by swarming the disputed waters with vessels, effectively defying the other countries to expel them. The goal is to accomplish by overwhelming presence what it has been unable to do through diplomacy or international law. And to an extent, it appears to be working”.


US-Australian Joint Strategic Planning, South China Morning post, 1 Apr, 2021


The US is undertaking “strategic planning” with its Australian ally to consider potential joint responses to a war over Taiwan, according to President Joe Biden’s top diplomat in Canberra. “We’re committed as allies to working together – not only in making our militaries interoperable and functioning well together, but also in strategic planning,” Michael Goldman, the US Embassy’s chargé d’affaires, said in an Australian National University podcast released on Thursday, when asked about a potential role for Australia in a Taiwan contingency. “And when you look at strategic planning, it covers the range of contingencies that you’ve mentioned, of which Taiwan is obviously an important component” Goldman added. While Australia regularly hails its history of being involved in every major American conflict over the past century, it’s yet to officially commit to taking part in a potential conflict over Taiwan.


A German View On Europe’s Policy Towards China, Internationale Politik, Spring 2021, Adam Tooze


In its dealings with Beijing, the United States has turned to classic grand strategy with the aim of safeguarding its primacy. In contrast, the EU has been pursuing a less consistent, but much more suitable multi-track approach. China’s latest actions may push the Europeans to full alignments with the US—which would be both momentous and dangerous.


Photo © Credit: Maxar Technologies, as published in the NYT,