In the event of a Chinese attack on Taipei, as stated by the corps commander, Patrick Berger. A new regiment will operate from Japan's southern islands by 2025. Possible use of killer drones to block Beijing's naval manoeuvres. British PM under pressure to consider China 'a threat'.
Taipei (AsiaNews) - US Marines could be deployed in the Taiwan Strait in the event of a Chinese attack on Taipei, Patrick Berger, commander of the US military corps, told Nikkei Asia yesterday.
In a change of strategy to curb China's geopolitical rise in the Western Pacific, the Pentagon announced last month that it would create a new Marine regiment by 2025: 2,000 troops to be dispersed in the Ryūkyū Islands in the far south of Japan.
They will be equipped with light weapons to be able to move quickly from one island to another. With anti-ship, anti-aircraft missiles, drones and intelligence-gathering sensors they will have to keep Chinese naval forces at a distance, preventing them from leaving the East China Sea.
The Ryūkyū extend 125 km from Taiwan's east coast. In response to a visit to Taipei in August by Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the US House of Representatives, the Chinese conducted missile 'exercises' northeast of Taiwan, in an area that overlaps with the Japanese exclusive economic zone, near the Sakishima Islands.
On two of these, Yonaguni and Miyako, there are Japanese Armed Forces bases; on a third, Ishigaki, an outpost with surface-to-air and anti-ship missile systems is under construction.
Berger emphasised the possible use of killer drones together with anti-ship missiles to block possible naval operations of Chinese forces between Taiwan and the Japanese islands to the north and the Philippine islands to the south.
According to the Chinese government, Taiwan is a rebel province to be regained even by the use of force. For their part, under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US is committed to defending the island.
Adopted in 1979 after the formal diplomatic recognition of Communist China, the act does not specify the actual nature of Washington's commitment to Taipei: a 'strategic ambiguity' that produces continuous tensions with Beijing.
In the meantime, the debate on what response to give in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is also animated in Great Britain. Today in Tokyo, in her first speech since losing her prime ministerial post,
Liz Truss asked her successor Rishi Sunak to adopt a tougher approach to China, especially with regard to its threats to Taipei. The British PM is under pressure to consider Beijing a 'threat' and not simply a 'systemic challenge'.