As citizens of the United States cast their votes for the election, one of the most difficult foreign policy facing the country's next president is the expansion of China's military forces.
In a 2018 Pentagon survey, China has been one of two nations, along with Russia, posing the most strategic military threat to the United States. Two years later, and the pressure has only increased.
China has seen violent border disputes with Indian soldiers this year alone; Chinese People's Liberation Army planes have regularly buzzed with Taiwanese and Japanese air defense systems. Chinese vessels have also been engaged in many accidents in the controversial waters of the South China Sea.
Moreover, the ambitious modernization program of Beijing, which has seen the military turn into a real-world power, equipped to confidently expand its capabilities across the Indo-Pacific region and well beyond.
COVID-19 has given the U.S. economy a hard blow. Although China had also been hit, its stringent measures have helped its economy recover much. At a tremendous speed, its shipyards and warehouses were shaping out to be highly sophisticated military hardware.
Washington has been under tension to keep up, particularly as what has already been seen for years as its technological superiority is trimmed as its military forces embody Chinese technological advancements.
China's military presence in Taiwan
Beijing persists in seeing Taiwan as an inseparable portion of its land, even when the Chinese Communist Party has never really controlled the democratic island. In its aspirations to "reunify" the island with the mainland, China's chief, President Xi Jinping, was also direct and has declined to leave out the use of aggression.
During the Trump administration, the self-governing territory gained massive levels of public assistance from Washington, such as trips by high-level U.S. government leaders and the selling of high-end weapons such as F-16 fighter jets.
The existing model of operation does not leave any room for either the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, or President Donald Trump to back away from helping Taiwan, analysts claimed.
Senior Researcher at the RAND Corp thinktanks in Washington, Timothy Heath, said, "But regardless of who wins, the U.S. will likely maintain a friendly relationship with Taiwan and criticize Chinese efforts to intimidate and destabilize the island."
Chinese disputes in the South China Sea
In its attempts to counter the claims of Beijing in the South China Sea, the U.S. armed forces have been articulate and visible.
Beijing asserts its sovereign territory in almost all of the enormous South China Sea and has played great efforts in recent years to establish its supremacy over resource-rich seas, turning a series of obscure reefs and atolls into heavily guarded man-made islands and growing its military presence in the area.
Schuster, now a professor at Hawaii Pacific University, claimed Biden could also be weakened under Barack Obama by his eight years as vice president.
Obama's initiatives in the region were assessed by South China Sea countries like Vietnam and the Philippines as "all talk backed by little to no substantive action," he stated.
"Biden will have to overcome that perception to gain their cooperation beyond the minimum," Schuster added.
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