M. Taylor Fravel

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A military exercise in Pingtung, Taiwan, July 2022. Ann Wang / Reuters.

As tension rises between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, strategists on all sides seem to have forgotten what the American game theorist Thomas Schelling taught years ago: deterring an adversary from taking a proscribed action requires a combination of credible threats and credible assurances. Instead of heeding that lesson, a growing number of U.S. analysts and officials have called for the United States to treat Taiwan as if it were an independent state and to abandon the long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” in favor of “strategic clarity”, defined as an unconditional commitment to use military force to defend the island in the event of a mainland Chinese attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

People Liberation Army soldiers and tanks are shown during military disengagement at the India-China border in Ladakh. (Indian army/AFP/Getty Images)

A one-sentence statement from China’s Ministry of National Defense on Feb. 10 announced a simultaneous disengagement of Indian and Chinese forces at Pangong Lake on their disputed border. Ten days later, the disengagement was complete, with a buffer zone separating troops on the lake’s northern bank.

What happened?

The disengagement may be a sign of easing tensions along part of the India-China border dispute known as the western sector. Also called Ladakh or Aksai Chin, this area comprises roughly 12,7000 square miles (excluding areas of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir that India also claims as part of this sector). In multiple areas, China and India hold conflicting views of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) lies, which creates numerous smaller disputes within the larger territorial conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

In early May, Chinese and Indian troops got into a fistfight on their border at Naku La Pass adjacent to the Indian state of Sikkim. A few days earlier, a brawl among border guards at Pangong Lake sent troops to the hospital. In recent weeks, Chinese soldiers also crossed the “line of actual control” (LAC) around the Galwan River valley.

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about China’s recent actions in this long-standing territorial dispute.

1. China hasn’t taken this type of action in at least a decade

The territorial dispute along the China-India border falls across three different areas.…  Seguir leyendo »