Letters to the Editor: Why the U.S. should never threaten military action over Taiwan

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel, front, passes a U.S.-guided missile destroyer in the Taiwan Strait.
A U.S. Coast Guard vessel, front, passes a U.S.-guided missile destroyer in the Taiwan Strait on Aug. 27.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe argues that the United States must clarify its intentions to fight a war with China in the event that Chinese President Xi Jinping orders an invasion of Taiwan.

U.S. leaders should reject Abe’s advice. It is true that Taiwan needs a stronger deterrent against China, but relying on the United States is the wrong approach.

It will never be in America’s interests to join a military confrontation over Taiwan that could quickly escalate to involve the use of nuclear weapons. Pretending otherwise will do little to preserve Taiwanese security.


Instead, the United States should help Taiwan to bolster its own defenses. Regional powers (including Japan) can assist by convincing Beijing that an invasion of Taiwan would provoke the same sort of regional backlash as Russia now faces in Europe.

The status quo across the Taiwan Strait is well worth preserving. However, threatening World War III is not the answer.

Peter Harris, Fort Collins, Colo.

The writer is an associate professor of political science at Colorado State University and a nonresident fellow at Defense Priorities.


To the editor: The author of the op-ed article made irresponsible remarks calling for the U.S. to make clear it would defend Taiwan. This serves only to instigate confrontation between major countries. China firmly rejects this.

The situations in Taiwan and Ukraine cannot be compared. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, where the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government. This One-China Principle is explicitly stated in both joint communiqués for establishing China-U.S. and China-Japan diplomatic ties.


The root cause of the tension in the Taiwan Strait is that the Taiwan authorities refuse to recognize the One-China Principle. Some external forces have condoned and abetted the growth of separatist forces for “Taiwanese independence.” This gravely violates the basic norms of international relations and puts the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in serious jeopardy.

The Taiwan question concerns China’s core interests of sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is entirely China’s internal affair, allowing no foreign interference. The Chinese people’s resolve to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity remains firm. We will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and every effort.

That said, we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures in response to the interference of foreign forces and the secessionist activities of a handful of “Taiwanese independence” separatists.

Zhang Ping, Los Angeles

The writer is the Chinese consul general in Los Angeles.