Taiwan remains a factor in potential U.S.-China conflict: scholars

In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is escorted into Busan port, South Korea, after completing a joint drill with the South Korean military. The United States and South Korea on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, started joint naval exercises that involved three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea. The four-day drills that began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast came as President Donald Trump continued a visit to Asia that has been dominated by discussions over the North Korean nuclear threat. (Jo Jung-ho/Yonhap via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (CNA) – The issue of Taiwan remains a sensitive topic that could result in conflict between China and the U.S, scholars on Sino-U.S. relations said during a conference on China’s rising power on Tuesday.

At the second annual “China Power” conference hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Graham Allison, a professor from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Evan Medeiros, managing director of the Eurasia Group’s Asia department, debated whether there was a growing risk of war between the U.S. and China.

While the two took different positions on the issue, one thing they did agree on is that there is a risk of war between the two countries, and that Taiwan constitutes one of the key risk factors.

According to Allison, who took the affirmative position in the debate, Taiwan remains a factor that could cause a clash between the U.S. and China even if the North Korea issue is more pressing.

Medeiros, even in thinking that there is not a growing risk of Sino-U.S. conflict, said that the U.S. needs to keep an eye on the Taiwan Strait.

The former senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council (NSC) during the Obama administration said that the U.S. should be vigilant even if some scholars are claiming that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) will wait until 2049, the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, to address the Taiwan issue.

By Rita Cheng and Kuan-lin Liu