Key Points

The United States should continue to shine a spotlight on Taiwan’s response to the pandemic and support Taiwan against China’s efforts to suppress its voice. To counter China’s false narratives and influence, the United States should coordinate with its other democratic allies in both Asia and Europe to bring Taiwan onto the global diplomatic stage as a key actor. 

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Yet there is a potential short-term solution. Both governments could immediately agree to suspend negotiations and keep the current SMA in force at the current funding level for the next two years. This would preserve stability within the alliance, allow both governments to deal with the coronavirus crisis, and return to the negotiating table at an appropriate time. Most importantly, the ROK-U.S. military alliance would maintain readiness to address the full spectrum of potential threats posed by the North, including war, provocations, and instability resulting from the coronavirus crisis.

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To defend those shared interests against persistent terror threats and a growing threat from China, the U.S. and India will need an even deeper and more effective defense partnership. India’s purchase of the AH-64E and MH-60R American helicopters represents a significant and positive step in that direction.

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America’s national security imperatives, to say nothing of its foundational principles, should impel Washington to spend less time worrying about offending the CCP and more time helping a fellow liberal democracy under threat.

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In great democracies like the US and India, however, leaders, parties, crises, and challenges come and go. Any successful long-term strategy for deterring the CCP’s aggression will require a sustainable, systemic, deep, and effective defence partnership between Washington and New Delhi. This week’s joint declaration and agreements take a significant step in making that aspiration a reality.

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