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By Lawrence Sellin, reprinted with permission
Quemoy and Matsu, officially known as the Kinmen and Lienchiang Counties respectively, are groups of islands located directly off the coast of mainland Communist China, but are under the administration of the Republic of China, Taiwan.
In the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, the People’s Republic of China shelled the islands of Quemoy and Matsu Islands in part to probe the extent of the United States’ defense of Taiwan’s territory.
During the 1960 Presidential campaign between Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon, the defense of Taiwan, as represented by Quemoy and Matsu, became a major issue during three of their debates.
Quemoy and Matsu are not fortified, making their capture by the People's Liberation Army an easy, but highly symbolic victory.
According to recent reports, footage uploaded by civilians in China shows large military movements of troops and equipment as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taiwan.
The large military movements have occurred on major highways and railways throughout the Chinese province of Fujian, directly adjacent to Quemoy and Matsu.
In the last 24 hours, commercial flights have been abruptly canceled from airports in several cities in Fujian province. These airports include Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou. Xiamen Airlines put out a statement saying that the flight cancelations were due to “regional traffic control” and did not elaborate further.
This could be considered an invasion warning, the military occupation of the Quemoy and Matsu Islands as the first step by Communist China to subjugate Taiwan and eliminate U.S. influence in the Western Pacific.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He had a civilian career in international business and medical research. Dr. Sellin is the author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution. His email address is [email protected].
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I love Taiwan and its people...I have been married to a Taiwanese for (a few months shy of) 50 years. China wants Taiwan because Taiwan is a modern country; more modern than the US. Note to China: please keep Nasty PigLowSi. We don't want her back !
That would be a dumb move by China, since it would send the perfect signal that the U.S. needs to send troops right onto Taiwan, and do other reinforcements.
The US recognition of the CCP as the government of China was predicated on a peaceful resolution of issues between the CCP and Taiwan. Any CCP war move against Taiwan puts that agreement on ice, clearing the way for recognition of Taiwan as a nation. Also, a move against Taiwan is an existential threat to Japan, which automatically involves the US via it's treaty with Japan. If Xi gets Kinmen and Matsu, he better enjoy them, because the rest of Taiwan becomes out of reach permanently. China is well armed, but it can't take on the allies together. It's also highly vulnerable to its shipping being interdicted at the western end of the south China Sea. Evergrande will be nothing compared to the economic fallout of a Russia-style divorce with the democracies. Goodbye to his China dream.
It is really China that is playing with fire. The CCP has a lot more to lose than does the US concerning any breakdown in economic interconnectivity that comes from a clash over Taiwan. Russia is suffering catastrophic economic decline as a result of it's divorce from the West, yet Russia at least benefits from being largely self sufficient in the energy and food sectors (although they must import pretty much any other consumer product you can imagine. China, in stark contrast, is entirely dependent on uninterrupted global imports to feed it's people and keep the lights on. Xi is flirting with disaster as he contemplates upending the economic and security arrangement that enables China's very existence as a modern, unified industrialized state.