A US government advisory board on China issued a report Wednesday calling for Washington to take a tougher stance on Taiwan.
In an annual report, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended a range of steps for the US to take with respect to Taiwan. It suggested appropriating funds to give Taiwan military aid for the island to purchase more US-made weapons, an idea many Senate Republicans favor.
To deter China from invading Taiwan, the report said Congress should authorize and fund the deployment of anti-ship ballistic missiles to the Indo-Pacific, reinforce military bases in the region, and increase surveillance and reconnaissance in the East and South China Seas.
US military activity has already increased drastically in the region. According to Chinese researchers, the US has conducted over 2,000 reconnaissance flights in waters near China in 2021 alone, compared with just under 1,000 flights in all of 2020. While it is being done in the name of deterrence, the increased US presence makes a conflict with China more likely.
The report hinted at changing the decades-old policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which means the US will not say whether or not it would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. “A lack of clarity in US policy could contribute to a deterrence failure if Chinese leaders interpret that policy to mean opportunistic aggression against Taiwan might not provoke a quick or decisive US response,” the report said.
Carolyn Bartholomew, the commission chair, slammed China in comments at a briefing on the report, reflecting Washington’s negative view of Beijing. “The Chinese government deepened its embrace of aggression, ‘Wolf Warrior’ behavior and coercion, heightening concerns throughout the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere in the world about China‘s rise,” she said.