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Scrutiny
  
Tie won? Nope!
Who’ll take on China? Not US!
30/11/2006

The lull before the storm is always deafening. Hopefully it is not the same in Taiwan Strait. And if it is that very silence, then is the world waiting to witness another round of face-off between USA and China over Taiwan? No doubt, the world has moved ahead from the 1995-96 Taiwan crisis, when the region was about to erupt in a ‘never seen before apocalypse’. Also, the belligerence of 2004 revolving around the elections has subsided. But according to a report by the International Crisis Group published in 2005 (Election politics, Personal conviction), the drive for a political legacy seems to be the key motive prompting President Chen and his government to break with earlier moderation on cross-strait issues. The report further states that with a concern on cross-strait stability, the US should rein in Chen.

Things seem to have improved on surface at least for now. Taiwan remains one of the largest investors in China. Both countries are economic powerhouses. While one literally drives the global economy nowadays, the other (Taiwan) is a hub for high-end technology research. But beneath the semblance of normalcy, dangers still lurks in the background. The Chinese economy, apart from growing at an astonishing 10.2%, has also spent high on defence. China’s defense budget in 2006 has been around $35 billion (officially). And it’s anyone’s guess how long will the US coolly ignore various Chinese DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missiles directly targeting American cities. One should note that the US has been characteristically prompt in delivering more than 150 F-16s, Patriot PAC-2 missiles, anti submarine helicopters, AWACS and hundreds of tanks to Taiwan.

Though Americans are credited with easing the 2004 tensions, in case of future tensions, the US would have to cover a larger space to prevent the Chinese march. Whether or not the Americans would have the determination to cross swords with China, remains to be answered. But China is certainly not Iraq, or Iran; but neither is Taiwan.

By:- B&E
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