The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president presents a "rare opportunity" for Washington to change its defense policy toward Taiwan, a former U.S. official said on Sunday.
Stephen Bryen, who served as a senior Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, said that over the past 25 years, America's support for Taiwan has been "a lot of comforting words but also a dumping off place for a lot of military junk," which left Taiwan with "only half an air force and half a navy."
"That policy has to be jettisoned because it is not in Taiwan's interest or in the interest of the United States," Bryen said in an article published on the online American Thinker forum.
Taiwan's air force does not have strike capability because Washington will not sell Taiwan strike aircraft such as the F-15 or advanced F-16s, and Taiwan's navy is made up primarily of old rejected U.S. frigates, he pointed out.
"Taiwan needs the other 'half' of its air force, navy, and army in order to deter China. America needs Taiwan to stay safe and free or we lose all of our credibility in Asia," he argued.
"America needs a containment policy for China's rising power and Taiwan is the right place to start implementing it."
He said if Trump, who he described as "a man with great instincts," can prevail over the established U.S. position, there is a chance Taiwan will remain independent.
"The usual suspects in the State Department will say that China will object if the United States gave Taiwan a real defense capability. American companies and financial institutions will complain they will lose business if China gets mad at us," he noted
"Anyway, Mr. Trump is not so happy about American companies shifting their manufacturing and technology to China, so maybe this will be part of his planned wakeup call," he added.
"President-elect Trump has a real opportunity to show China that America is not sleeping anymore."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel