Taiwanese Military Said They Will Not Help Coast Guard Unless Requested

Taiwanese Military Statement

The Taiwanese military’s deputy director for joint military operations planning said they will not help the Taiwanese Coast Guard (TCG) unless the agency requests it during a February 21st press conference. The director’s comments were in response to the ongoing dispute between China and Taiwan regarding the February 14th and 19th incidents near Kinmen Island.

Taiwan Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Sun Li-fang (Photo: Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense)

The director said that the military required that the island defense commands and the Taiwanese Navy include potential scenarios and responses similar to the incidents in their drills. However, the military will not deploy vessels to support or intervene in the ongoing dispute but is ready to provide support if the TCG requests it.

Furthermore, the deputy director said the military did not increase the number of military personnel stationed on Kinmen, Matsu, or other islands. A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry said that the island defense commands conduct military exercises and “make preparations based on different situations.”

Analysis

The reason why the Taiwanese military chose to publicly state they will not intervene in the ongoing dispute is because they want to signal they will not escalate the dispute unless China chooses to do so. Taiwan understands that both sides do not want to escalate the issue by deploying naval vessels to the waters surrounding the Kinmens, even if they are deployed at a distance.

Furthermore, the Taiwanese military also understands that any assistance they could provide would be limited due to the Kinmen Islands located off the Chinese coast. The People’s Liberation Army Navy could blockade the island to prevent the Taiwanese Navy from landing on the island. China understands that Taiwan would be extremely hesitant to order its naval ships to run the blockade to prevent an incident from occurring, which could escalate tensions.

China also does not want to escalate the dispute because any significant escalation could potentially draw the United States into the dispute. The United States would likely deploy its own naval vessels, such as an aircraft carrier group, to the Taiwan Strait to monitor the situation. Furthermore, China also does not want to risk damaging already strained relations with the United States since it is actively seeking U.S. businesses to restart investment in China.

Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin the panda began Sino Talk in 2022 primarily to give an objective, unbiased view on China related topics as well as other issues related to the Indo-Pacific region. He spent several years studying and traveling throughout China and many countries in the Indo-Pacific region. In another life, the panda was also a U.S. Marine intelligence analyst who enjoyed bamboo MREs and drinking bourbon and soju. Indo-Pacific Division Desk Chief for Atlas News.

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