Xi Jinping 'Unlikely' To Go Nuclear On Taiwan Amid Taipei's Bid For US Umbrella: Defense Experts

Defense experts believe that Taiwan's call to join U.S. nuclear umbrella could be helpful for Taipei to deter Xi Jinping, but it’s unlikely for Beijing to use nuclear weapons against the island nation if a war breaks out. 

What Happened: Amid U.S.-China tensions over Taipei, Taiwan has sought to be included in the U.S. nuclear umbrella that has successfully protected Japan, South Korea and Australia for decades, reported The South China Morning Post.

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Last week, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the island had been in talks with Washington on the nuclear umbrella issue.

According to analysts, the deal would favor Taiwan and act as an additional security shield against potential military threats from China amid Beijing's growing nuclear arsenal. 

John Mearsheimer, an American political scientist and international affairs professor at the University of Chicago, told the Taipei-based CommonWealth Magazine in December that a nuclear umbrella would "create a powerful, conventional deterrent in Taiwan."

Meanwhile, another analyst said it is highly unlikely for Beijing to use nuclear weapons against Taiwan. "It is unlikely for Beijing to use nuclear weapons to attack Taiwan, given the radiation spillover problem and the proximity of Taiwan to the Chinese mainland," Chang Yen Ting, a retired Taiwanese lieutenant general, said.

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While Chang also agreed that "It would help to undermine the Chinese communists' efforts to extend their forces to the western Pacific if Taiwan was under the nuclear umbrella."

Why It Matters: The U.S. nuclear umbrella currently extends to Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and NATO participating countries.

Taiwan’s recent engagement with the U.S. has resulted in an increase in provocative actions by Xi’s Army. In recent months Beijing has severely ramped up military and political pressure to try and get Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty, including staging war games near the island and warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone.

Read Next: Former Taiwan President Urges Peace Talks With Xi Jinping — But Tsai's Government Thinks His Views Are Outdated

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