The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British think tank, released a 37-page research report titled “Taiwan, Cross-strait Stability and European Security” on March 30. The report pointed out that European countries have begun to realize that the cross-strait crisis has a “direct” impact on European politics, security, and the economy.
In the early 21st century, the report said that Taiwan was regarded as a “troublemaker” in the Taiwan Strait. However, in recent years, the EU has gradually recognized Taiwan as a “like-minded partner.” The EU also understood that when China is constantly trying to change the status quo, Europe must have different strategies for dealing with Taiwan. So suggestions are made from three aspects: politics, economy, and military.
Political, military, and economic proposals
First of all, the report said, in terms of politics, most countries in Europe still adhere to “one China” policy and only verbally support Taiwan. They are reluctant to take action to improve their relationship with Taiwan. So this move only delays the conflict between Europe and China, but the EU will ultimately pay more in the long run.
In this regard, Europe can define Taiwan as an important ideological, political, and economic partner. The option does not necessarily conflict with the “one China” policy, but Europe must shake off fears of potential Chinese retaliation.
The IISS report pointed out that if Europe adopts the above position, it must use its economic strength to prevent China from invading Taiwan by force. Although the outside world often refers to the high trade dependence between Europe and China, the largest exporters of goods to the EU are the US and the UK, followed by China.
In 2020, in terms of trade in services, the EU exported 200.5 billion dollars to the US but only 18.5 billion dollars to China. As for imported goods, the largest amount came from China.
According to the report, Europe should use trade with China as a foreign policy tool to warn China that Europe will suspend investment in China and the import of Chinese goods if the Taiwan Strait crisis breaks out. However, it requires European countries to have concerted action.
In addition, although Taiwan is only the 14th largest trading partner of the EU, Taiwan has key high-tech advantages, and its value in the global supply chain is self-evident.
Finally, considering the Russian threat, the only countries that can assist Taiwan militarily are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and Poland. For “a gray zone” conflicts and cyber warfare, European countries that have the power to formulate norms internationally and have a deep influence in international organizations can establish codes of conduct in advance to help Taiwan.
The European power can also hold joint drills with the Taiwan Coast Guard, providing Taiwan’s cyber operations experience, assisting Taiwan in preventing hacker intrusions, and sharing China’s key military intelligence.
Hold joint drills with Taiwan Coast Guard
The report said that once China launched a naval and air blockade against Taiwan, including expanding China’s air defense identification zone to Taiwan’s airspace and even cutting off Taiwan’s submarine communication cables. Europe can requisition civilian cargo planes to urgently transport supplies to Taiwan to break through China’s blockade.
To prevent Chinese missiles from attacking Taiwan, Europe can also provide Taiwan with Patriot missiles and electronic warfare systems in advance and dispatch warships to assist in missile defense. It can also use electronic warfare aircraft or troops to interfere with China’s missile performance and its ability to supervise intelligence. But this depends on coordination operations with Japan in advance.