Professor Patalano spoke during a press conference this week, outlining the details of a new international policy, the timeline of which has a hard deadline. She noted that the use of force should not be the immediate response, but the ultimate goal should be to have Taiwan capitulate and come back under the jurisdiction of mainland China.
The timeline for the initiative is aggressive and is one of the first tasks to be undertaken by China’s new president, Xi Jinping. He will need to establish diplomatic relations with several international regimes before effectively engaging with Taiwan. This would give China leverage over the legal framework in which the island can act as a sovereign nation.
Professor Patalano believes that the use of force should only be considered when all other diplomatic approaches have been exhausted. She stated that the aim of the policy should not be the use of force, but rather the effort should be focused on getting Taiwan to recognize its inevitability to come under Chinese rule.
The Chinese government is aware of the difficult nature of the policy and has set up the framework with various tools and levers that could be used to bring Taiwan to the table. For one, China has started strengthening its military forces along its southern coast, with some reports suggesting it may build an aircraft carrier. It is also known to be working on various trade policies to boost economic relations with Taiwan and coerce them into submission.
It is yet unclear how China will use diplomacy to bring about the end goal of Taiwan submitting to Chinese rule. However, Patalano believes that the use of force is only to be used if all other means have failed. The timeline for a resolution is tight and it is a priority of the new Chinese president. He will have to find the right methods and techniques to ensure a stable transition for both sides.
Professor Patalano’s opinion reflects the sentiment of many in the international community who also wish for a peaceful resolution to the problem. The Chinese government has made it clear with the deadline that they will find a way to get Taiwan’s capitulation with or without resorting to force. China is well aware of the climate both in and out of its borders and understand that the use of force could destabilize the region completely.
Ultimately, the world awaits to find out how China will handle such a delicate issue. It will be down to the skills of President Xi Jinping and his advisers whether they are able to find a resolution that is peaceful for all parties involved. Professor Patalano’s opinion that diplomacy must be the first option is an opinion that is shared throughout the world.