Economic relations and cooperation continue to increase between China and Taiwan, but so does political tension…
While the 65,000 ton Shi Lang has been declared as “fulfilling China’s 70-year aircraft carrier dreams”, Beijing insists that has no hostile intentions. It’s merely a way for China to fulfill antipirate obligations, allowing them to escort merchant ships through their waters.
“The Chinese are proud of having their warships escort the merchant vessels of other nations, and that’s a good thing” said Wells, a former US naval commander, in a recent Business Week article. As a Pentagon consultant, Wells participated in a military conference in Bahrain where Chinese naval officers gave a presentation about their activities in the Somali Basin.
Government officials that understand American diplomacy in the Pacific say that cooperative military to military interaction has helped improve overall relations between the US and China.
But do those who flex together really stay together? The Taiwanese, a nation that prefers to call themselves as the Republic of China, have a different theory. An email from Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang asserts that “the mainland has shifted from tradition modes of strategic thinking, which concentrated on crossing the sea to do battle on land, to looking to encircle Taiwan by adroitly deploying forces offTaiwan’s east coast. In such regards, it is theoretically plausible that a Chinese carrier-led naval task for could be sued to deny the US the ability to come toTaiwan’s rescue.
Taiwan has a mere 23 million citizens, compared to China’s whopping 1.3 billion.Chinahas as many as 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan, according to the Pentagon. So the Shing Lang would not only be a threat to peace in the Taiwan Strait, but also the regional security.
This is of course nothing but speculation, at least at the moment. The most we know is that the Shi Lang will be a cozy spot for the soon to develop J-15 (or flying shark), China’s current project for a carrier capable fighter.
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