Changes In Pentagon's Taiwan Policy May Send Wrong Signal To China - Reports

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th September, 2022) The US Defense Department's decision to make changes in its Taiwan policy may send the wrong signal to China, Politico reported on Friday, citing lawmakers and former officials.

The changes include moving the Defense Department's Taiwan portfolio under authority of its office responsible for China, the report said. However, the experts noted in the report that the move raises questions amid potential tensions in the region.

Pulling Taiwan back into a portfolio dominated by China sends the wrong signal to Beijing - that they can dictate the United States' relationship with the island democracy, or worse, that it will facilitate consultation with Beijing on the US approach to Taiwan's security needs, the report cited US Senator Dan Sullivan as saying.

Sullivan insisted that diluting the United States' focus on supporting Taiwan is a "really bad idea," the report said.

The Defense Department explained that the change is of a bureaucratic character and was designed to increase internal efficiency, the report said.

Historically, both China and Taiwan were under the purview of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia. However, in 2019 the Trump administration created a special office focused only on China.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia in the Trump administration, Heino Klinck, has warned that Beijing will not look at this as a coincidence, the report said.

Klinck has said he thinks the United States is unintentionally signaling that its relationship with Taiwan is a subset of its relationship with mainland China, the report said.

Randy Schriver, who led the Defense Department's Asia policy under the Trump administration, has warned that such a move will show that Taiwan becomes a "subset" due to its size relative to China.

Traditionally, Taiwan has been viewed as a problem to manage in the China context and this is a return to that, the report quoted Schriver as saying.

The changes will have not only policy but practical implications as well because remaining under the Defense Department's East Asia office would show Taiwan that it is still among other US partners in the region, including Japan and Australia, the report said.