China Mistakenly Challenges Andrew Jackson to a Duel - A Chinese diplomat’s insulting words invite a vigorous response from the U.S.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
The United States Navy will be making a port call in Taiwan in the near future. The only questions that remain are where, when, and how many ships of what type will drop anchor or tie up at Taiwanese piers.
Of course, this may cause a war to break out in Asia, but it won’t be one of the United States’ making. We owe this troubling possibility to a China whose rising sense of anticipatory greatness is at odds with its capacity to execute a successful war. Hubris stimulated a Chinese official, Li Kexin, who is attached to its embassy in Washington, D.C., to threaten war against the United States. Li was responding to fairly normal language within the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that allowed for mutual port visits between American and Taiwan naval vessels. In response, Li stated:
“The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung [Taiwan’s main deep-water port] is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force.” This non-diplomatic démarche represents a break in precedent, as the United States Navy has made port calls in Taiwan, and it also directly challenges U.S. law in the form of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which unequivocally states that the United States will “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”
Under these conditions, the United States has no choice but to send the United States Navy to Taiwan for a port visit, and to do so in a big way. The USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class super carrier based in Japan, with its entire embarked air wing of 65 strike fighters and reconnaissance aircraft and its accompanying escort strike group of Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class ballistic-missile-defense destroyers, should quickly sortie to Taiwan. They should divide up, with one portion of the strike group transiting down the strait that separates the island from China and the other coming down the eastern coast, meeting up at the southern tip to escort the Reagan into port at Kaohsiung.