2011-05-14 (China Military News cited from taipeitimes.com and written by William Lowther) — A US military expert said China may be trying to take over Taiwan by using a strategy of “economic entanglement.”
Barry Watts, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told a US congressional commission this week: “Why use military force if economic entanglement leading to economic capture is succeeding?”
In testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Watts said that the most common scenarios for a conflict between the US and China were built around a Chinese attempt to invade Taiwan.
“The first point to be made about the likelihood of such an attempt is that China has been fairly successful in pursuing the economic entanglement of Taiwan,” he said.
Watts, who was testifying on China’s military space program, said that he had discussed the possibility of a Chinese attack on Taiwan with senior Taiwanese national security officials in Taipei.
“What struck me during that trip was the growing migration of Taiwan’s advanced technologies and businesses to mainland China, lured by such incentives as lower labor costs,” Watts said.
“Since then, the indications are that the gradual economic entanglement of Taiwan has continued, and that it is leading — in the long run — to Taiwan’s eventual economic capture by the People’s Republic of China [PRC],” he said. “If this assessment is correct, then the chances of the PRC initiating a military takeover of Taiwan in 2012 or even 2020 appear to be quite low. Note, too, that this approach embodies Sun Tzu’s (孫子) dictum that the acme of strategy is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Since China is a rising power whose conventional military forces remain substantially inferior to those of the US, Watts said, it was imperative for China to avoid a direct military conflict with the US “for the time being.”
“What role might China’s space capabilities play should such a conflict occur nonetheless?” he asked.