US sails gaily through Taiwan Straits

Via WSJ:

Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, U.S. and Taiwan defense officials said Monday, a maneuver intended to signal to China that the U.S. could travel in any international waters.

The voyage completed Monday “demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Cmdr. Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he said.

China had no immediate reaction to the maneuver, which comes at a time of renewed tensions between Washington and Beijing.

It’s all rum, buggery and lash. From SCMP:

In his landmark speech that signalled a fundamental shift in US policy on China, at the Hudson Institute on October 4, US Vice-President Mike Pence took a forceful line on Taiwan, as he criticised efforts by Beijing to lure away the island’s diplomatic partners and force foreign companies to stop referring to it as a country.

Pence also praised Taiwan’s democratic development and criticised China’s authoritarian rule. “Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people,” he said.

Days later, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen used a speech at the National Day celebrations in Taipei to echo Pence’s rebuke to Beijing. Tsai said: “Our democratic transition lightens our dark past and provides a ray of light in the dark night for all those seeking democracy.”

Beijing is increasingly squeezing Taiwan’s international space. The island republic has lost five diplomatic allies since Tsai came to office in May 2016, and now has formal ties with only 17 small nations. But the more Beijing squeezes, the more support grows in Washington for the democratic, self-ruled island. President Donald Trump has signalled his determination to challenge Beijing’s cherished “one China” principle that underpins stable US-China relations vis-à-vis Taiwan. As president-elect, Trump shocked the world by having a phone conversation with Tsai. And now, as president, Trump has surrounded himself with a team of pro-Taiwan advisers and aides in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon. Among these are National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has suggested the US consider shifting diplomatic recognition back from Beijing to Taipei. Pence’s remarks about Taiwan also challenged the “one China” policy – a policy Washington has been committed to since it established diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1979.

This year, Trump signed into law two pieces of pro-Taiwan legislation, both of which received overwhelming support in the Senate and House of Representatives. The National Defence Authorisation Act calls for the upgrading of military support to Taiwan, while the Taiwan Travel Act encourages more mutual visits by cabinet-level officials. Both pieces of legislation challenge the “one China” policy.

…Trump might now see Taiwan as an increasingly valuable point of leverage over China, but Beijing will make no compromise on this politically most sensitive issue as it considers Taiwan a “core interest”.

As the US and China drift dangerously towards direct conflict, Taiwan should be cautious. The narrow Taiwan Strait could be the flashpoint that sparks war between the world’s most powerful nations.

Just another flash point to watch.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


    • Or to get them to flex some economic muscle? Which would mean less trade, exactly what Trump wants, and longer term companies would then likely look for alternative supply chains. Win win for Trump, probably 3 wins as politically he can then blame China for higher prices. Xi’s response is going to be a huge indicator, I would think, certainly nor meeting with Trump in coming months (if he does that would mean capitulation)

  1. Another issue is the Taiwan air force. Its pretty aged. It still has F5s for instance which is quaint if nothing else. These are being phased out. Obama’s administration rejected Taiwan’s move to purchase over 60 new F16s, its older F16s have air frame problems due to age but all are being upgraded. Will be interesting to see if Trump agrees to sell them new jets. It will be another ground for tension with the PRC if he does

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Hang on, what was Bazza’s reasoning for not selling to Taiwan? Geez, if it’s okay for rogue states like Saudi Arabia and Israel then those nice Taiwanese must be proper arseholes.

  2. Yeah makes you wonder what type of streamers they were towing and whether they gained more advantage than they lost. It’s a hard call in modern naval warfare. Obviously the Chinese recorded a couple of really good clean signatures but what information did they give away in the process?
    You’d have to guess that the US did everything they could to disguise the ships characteristic noises but even in dis-information there is information.
    fun fun fun

  3. Good on ’em. Appeasement didn’t work against Hitler, and it won’t work against Xi who is both a thug and a buffoon, and who no doubt interprets it as weakness.

    Xi was doing pretty well for a while, but he obviously started to believe his own publicity some time ago, and now he has screwed the pooch bigly on the world stage. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets himself out of this mess without ending up as an organ donor.

    • the chinee, pft
      remember the japs downed tools on beating up on the chinee,
      to move up to the next level of beating up on the yanks (who were no 17 at the time)
      which didnt turn out all that well. (the yanks moved up to no 1 in that period)
      Not so long ago.

    • True dat! As hard as it is the sooner we confront those who break international laws, intimidate neighbours etc the better. Else we have learnt nothing from history.

    • If Hillary was president, would she be taking the same line as Trump? Obama didn’t seem to be setting this up … and it seems that Trump alone has decided that China must be stopped. Alone by US political standands, and globally. He might be personally unappealing, but he is demonstrating leadership on protecting the US’s position and addressing some global inequities (IP theft, trade balances, SC Sea).

  4. The debate moves to winnable themes – Taiwanese democracy is unanswerable. I bet 1.4 b Chinese would love the right to remove their government. The most populous country in the world flipped from Communism to Fascism in a single gesture, only the totalitarianism remains.

  5. This more of a signal to PLA navy, that the USA has the strength and logistics to operate in both Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.

  6. The Taiwanese did consider reunification in 2014-2016 when things were booming in China and Taiwan might benefit.
    But even at that peak – only 25% of the Taiwanese and 48% of the Chinese on Taiwan supported it.

    Taiwan & Taiwanese were part of Japan sovereign territory, ceded with Japan post WW2. Never part of China in modern history, plus filled up with 2 million KMT anti communist Chinese nationalists.

    Now with Trump and the US doing the Asian pivot properly – things have changed.

    China is falling apart everywhere.

    Due to Trump’s tactics of isolation and direct pressure, China has lost North Korea as any leverage.
    A much reinvigorated Japan & South Korea.
    A reaffirmation by the US to defend Taiwan.
    US & South East Asian alliance reaffirmation.

    A clear policy by the US to force/defend as needed the South China Seas as international waters.

    ➡️ Huge loss of face for the Chinese Communists

    Then add the Trade tarriff pressure, their US exports are 25% of China’s GDP growth and employ over 26 million with another 105 million Chinese financially dependent.

    China’s trade & currency manipulation isn’t just to the US, they exploit every other country also.
    An entire anti China alliance (north Asia Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India) are ready to take advantage of being a US export partner to replace China.

    And don’t hope for a quick US China ‘deal’ of resolution, as that might just be at Australia’s expense.
    The US replacing Australian gas ore & agricultural products is an obvious US China trade balance correction.

    China has other big problems outside of US trade & the One China & South China Sea failure.

    The Chinese failure in the One Belt Road (both a sea & land corridor colonization), now beset with open resistance from neighboring countries, mass corruption, fraud & failure.

    Then add the much hated China social credit policy, the Hakou or internal pass controls (over 100 million poor & low class unskilled Chinese cleansed from the China’s eastern seaboard tier 1 cities – many sent to western countries as migrant guestworkers/ students etc.
    “The reform of the hukou system was a major plank of the 13th Five-Year Plan, covering the period from 2016 to 2020” (my note – coinciding with our broken border controls & widespread visa racketeering).
    “Under the reforms, at least 100 million migrants will have their hukou status regularized by 2020”
    “Most first-tier cities opted to regularize their populations by simply discouraging irregular hukou applicants.” 9 million were ‘exported’.

    Yep: that’s what we imported as Chinese PR & students. Their clearance.

    Then add a tangible resentment by the young Chinese to the corrupt communist despot elitists, plus 3 independence movements (Manchuria, Tibet & Urghur) plus Hong Kong shifting into protest/revolt, and things in China look a bit grim.

    Why would Taiwan want to be part of that ?
    Especially now it’s going to be defended by a US ally with 4,000 plus nuclear weapons, the most power military globally, an Asian alliance and it will gain more export opportunity and wealth by NOT being part of China.

    We have been told, and will be more forcibly told by the US to join the US & free world alliance.

    To our reduce Chinese imports & export dependence.

    To reduce Chinese presence & infiltration onshore.

    And as said – it’s quite on the cards that China will do a deal to import more US energy/gas, food and minerals (instead of Australian) as part a China US trade balance correction.

    A diminished weaker China with less exports and OBR cut back or scrapped will need less imports from Australia, and China pressured to take US alternatives.
    None of that is good for Australia.

    Domestically here.
    We have some 600,000 mainland Chinese now, many as PR as they remain Chinese communist nationals -we need to tighten up Chinese PR criteria (no welfare or Medicare) and delay any citizenship.
    Most should never have been allowed in.

    All the 200,000 or so Chinese fake foreign students & partners need to be exited. A financial & social burden already and a political & ideological threat also.

    And an Australia~China repatriation treaty is also long overdue.
    Australia needs to identify and seize the assets and start the repatriation of the $45 billion or so thieved out of China & laundered into Australia & the housing market.
    That will settle housing prices back to normal levels.

    • Good read Mike.
      Trump is a bit of a tosser but he’s the best US president for getting the right things done.
      Getting Nth Korea onside and then putting a wedge between the US and China was clever.
      What will China do now that tariffs are hurting more and more each day?
      They can’t make a sustainable move from here, not one they’ll like anyway.
      Their Gold and US treasuries are all they got to play with

    • “Yep: that’s what we imported as Chinese PR & students. Their clearance.”

      That is simply wrong. The only people who would believe that line are people who have had no experience in dealing with mainlanders. The vast bulk of Chinese students in Australia are not from rural migrant worker families. To mistake those students as being of peasant stock would be like seeing Bob Katter walking around Surry Hills and mistake him for a hipster. It is that obvious.

      • As I said, our Chinese mainland intake are mostly from Chinese urban slum clearance.

        As per the article quote (if I post the link, this reply gets moderated:) but you can find it here using this text and search.

        Foreign Policy com 2018 02 01 Chinas middle cksss is pulling the ladder up behind itself

        “Under the reforms, at least 100 million illegal internal migrants will have their hukou status regularized by 2020”

        That is 100 million urban & rural ‘illegal internal migrant poor’ who were concentrated in the Chinese mainland cities and were force exited – internally, and overseas.

        9 million have been packaged up & sent overseas.

        Poor, unskilled, uneducated, unhealthy, amoral, misfits, undesirables, poor social credit score, not seen as my worthy by China of entering their middle class restricted zones.

        The Chinese mainland and offshore foreign criminal syndicates and the Chinese government all actively collaborating in this relocation & export.

        Where do you think they all went?

        You don’t see this bottom layer of China’s misfits, undesirables or poor in the US or Canada.

        You do here. Most certainly here.
        In fact that’s pretty much all you see coming in.

        Because our visa & border control filters are set to receive this detritus & social burden.

        It even has a name.
        In China – the term for what is sent to Australia is ‘slum clearance’
        Pínmínkū qīngchú

      • I’ve studied at Universities in Sweden and Australia.

        The Chinese students in Sweden were good looking, confident, and couldn’t speak English. Its clear that they were there to receive a Western education.

        The Chinese students in Australia are unattractive, shy, and can’t speak English. Its pretty clear that they are just here for migration purposes, and are excess population cleared out to the neo-colonies.

        The Chinese-Australians that have been here for 30 years are great though. Indian-Australians of that era or earlier too. I guess our migration standards were much higher then, and the whole system wasn’t shot full of fraud. Better quality back then.

    • Firstly one has to remember all the criminal proceeds say out of American that washed over the world only to explode in the GFC, post that the greatest wealth transfer upward occurred in modernity. Not to mention nearly 2 decades of endless war and murder in the ME.

      The point I’m making is black and white hat comparisons are useless, unless one does a full and comprehensive comparison e.g. what if there are no good guys.

  7. What ships were sent? Would have been highly appropriate to sail thru the Taiwan Straights the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, given Ike’s attitude towards the Republic of China and the Peoples Republic of China.

  8. … Essential viewing …

    NZ politicians need to learn the ABCs of Chinese politics for a ‘constructive relationship’, foreign policy expert says … Q&A with Prof Anne – Marie Brady … 1 News Now
    Alleged National donor Yikun Zhang bringing 1000 well-connected compatriots to NZ … Stuff NZ
    … From August 2017 … just prior to General Election which the National Party (Conservatives / Aussie Liberals) deservedly lost …

    National Party auctions off ice axe signed by Sir Edmund Hillary to raise funds for campaign … Nicole Lawton … Fairfax New Zealand

    A very ‘sick mix’ of greed, ignorance, docility and naivety.

  9. “9 million have been packaged up & sent overseas.
    Poor, unskilled, uneducated, unhealthy, amoral, misfits, undesirables, poor social credit score, not seen as my worthy by China.”

    So basically the same people England sent over here 200-odd years ago then? Except not necessarily criminals

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Also exactly the same in that the local population has absolutely no say on the matter.

  10. Do people know that there’s a bit of Taiwain, Kinmen Island, that is literally 2km off the coast of China (Xiamen to be exact) that the Chinese could easily take if they were up to something?

  11. Yes, rum, buggery and lash. Stupidity of the most primitive order. Confrontation and bullying to force others to lose. This does not give stability, the end of empire with a history of only 25 years from 1776 not at war, going down with bloodied bystanders.