German Marshall Fund of the United States

Peace and Security in the Taiwan Strait and the China Sea

"What-if" Scenarios on Issues of Peace, War, and Security in the Indo-Pacific Sea

It seems to many that a military showdown over Taiwan’s independence is only a matter of time. At the invitation of the German Marshal Fund of the United States (GMF) and supported by the Bureau fuer Zeitgeschehen (BfZ), a group of renowned China experts analysed which regional and global developments could prevent or accelerate a military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait and the China Sea in the run-up to the Stockholm China Forum (2021). With the provocative large-scale manoeuvre of the Chinese People’s Army in the summer of 2022, the scenarios seemed to become reality.

In recent years, tensions in the China Sea have increased significantly. Since Xi Jinping took office in 2013, China has changed course in its foreign and security policy and is taking a much more assertive stance. And with Donald Trump in the White House, US-China relations have deteriorated more than at any time since the early 1970s. At the same time, Beijing’s relations with other regional players have deteriorated, too – namely Japan, Australia, and Vietnam. Under Joe Biden’s leadership, Washington has adopted a much more confrontational course towards Beijing. The goal: together with democratic powers in the region (Quad) and the European Union (EU) contain Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.

Following the initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States GMF – and guided by GMF Senior Fellow Dr. Oliver Gnad, Managing Director of the BfZ – a group of international experts has developed pointed “what-if” scenarios. They examine different perspectives on peace, conflict, and security in the Indo-Pacific and consistently think through emerging trends. Their conclusion: The West is neither militarily nor economically prepared for the emerging conflict with China. And the danger of an alliance between Beijing and Moscow increases the more the USA demonstrates its claim to power in the region.


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