Most experts believe U.S. should not pledge to defend Taiwan: survey

Most experts disapprove of the view that the United States should officially pledge to defend China's Taiwan region, according to a November survey by Foreign Affairs Magazine. 

Among the 54 experts surveyed to give their opinions on whether the U.S. should "publicly adopt, as official policy, a pledge to use military force to defend Taiwan," 39 either strongly disagreed or disagreed, while only eight either agreed or strongly agreed.

Most of these participants stated their reasons for their contentions.

"It would be reckless to adopt this policy of 'strategic clarity,'" said Lyle J. Goldstein, director for Asia Engagement at Defense Priorities and visiting professor at Brown University. "In fact, this move away from 'strategic ambiguity' might well spark the war that it is aiming to prevent."

"Wiser policies would emphasize creative diplomacy and maintain Washington's commitment to the 'one China' policy," said Goldstein, who disagreed with the survey's debate statement.

Michael Mazza, a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Global Taiwan Institute, a supporter of the statement, said "a firm U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan, or strategic clarity, will have a positive deterrent effect vis-à-vis China."

Stephen Wertheim, a senior fellow at the Carnegie American Statecraft Program, said "it is currently far from a foregone conclusion" that China will seek national reunification by force, "despite the current drumbeat of vague and unsourced claims to the contrary emanating from people in Washington who are not China experts."

"I am never certain about anything, but I round to a 10/10 on this question," said Wertheim, a strong opposer. 

China released a white paper in August regarding the Taiwan question and the reunification of China in the new era. "Peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems' are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question and the best approach to realizing national reunification," it read.

(Cover: A view of the White House October 24, 2022, in Washington, DC, the United States. /CFP)

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