Mon, May 01, 2023 page8
A Chinese occupation would harm the world
By Paul Lin 林保華
“The one who captures Taiwan, conquers the world,” a person in the tech industry recently wrote in an online post. I completely agree with this statement for a few reasons.
First, Taiwan’s geographic and strategic location cannot be more important. It is located in the pivotal area between Northeast and Southeast Asia, and between Eurasia and the western Pacific Ocean.
The location has been desired by all. Once the global maritime powers emerged, Taiwan fell prey to Europe, the US, Japan and China, leading to the massacring and assimilation of indigenous people.
As the indigenous population gradually declines, Taiwan has become a multiethnic country, and this trend is likely to continue, especially as more Austronesians join the community.
After World War II, Taiwan was on the front line of the struggle between the free world and communism, and following the start of the Korean War in 1950, the US made a policy U-turn to help the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hold on to Taiwan.
In 1958, the 823 Artillery Bombardment occurred, also known as the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tried to get its hands on Taiwan.
Today, if Chinese submarines wanted to travel straight to the US’ west coast, they would likely travel through the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan, which the US military monitors.
If, in a different scenario, Taiwan were occupied by China, Chinese submarines could be docked at the Port of Suao (蘇澳) naval facility on the east coast, and the US military would be unlikely to know when they might launch an attack.
For this reason, how can the US possibly give up Taiwan, which US soldiers traded their lives for during World War II?
Third, the Taiwan Strait is one of the busiest shipping passages in the world, with more than half of all container ships passing through it.
Beijing has always claimed that the Strait is its enclosed sea, but Taiwan disagrees, saying it is open to international shipping.
If China occupies Taiwan, the lifeline of fuel and various raw materials for Japan and South Korea would be cut off by Beijing, putting the countries in a crisis of survival.
Meanwhile, this would lead to a maritime communication breakdown between the US and India — the world’s most populous country and a rising economic power.
Some experts say that the US would face a repeat of the Great Depression of the early 1930s. This would of course slow down India’s development, too.
Last, in the high-tech era, it is difficult to move around and compete in this space without advanced chips.
According to a survey last year, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry ranked second in the world with a market share of 26 percent. Its packaging and testing sector and IC design sector ranked first and second in the world, with a market share of 20 and 27 percent respectively. Plus, with a market share of as high as 64 percent, Taiwan’s wafer foundry sector steadily ranked first in the world.
Overall, what Taiwan has contributed to the global economy, people’s livelihood and military is exceptional. If such technologies and capabilities fall into the hands of the CCP, it would surely be a humanitarian catastrophe. Not only would democracy be destroyed, people’s livelihood would also face a significant regression. It might even cause countless casualties.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Eddy Chang