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Here’s What China’s Foray Into The Middle East Could Mean For Taiwan

  • China is building a new military base in Oman, which will complement its logistics facility in Djibouti and advance Beijing’s goal of establishing strong points in the Middle East.
  • Heightened Chinese military presence in the Middle East could obstruct American military forces from effectively mobilizing and redirecting toward Taiwan if Beijing decides to invade, leaving the island with reduced defenses, according to foreign policy experts.
  • “In establishing military outposts where America’s military might is strongest, Beijing is seeking to disrupt Washington’s ability to redirect its forces towards China’s periphery during a Taiwan contingency,” Craig Singleton, senior China fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said in a statement.

China is expanding its military presence in the Middle East, which could obstruct American forces in the region from mobilizing if Beijing decides to invade Taiwan, leaving the island with reduced defenses, according to foreign policy experts.

President Joe Biden was briefed Tuesday by his advisors on a Chinese plan to build a new military facility in Oman bordering the Arabian Sea, which would advance Beijing’s goal of increasing its Middle East and overseas presence, according to Bloomberg. By establishing military strong points in the Middle East, China can hinder and disrupt American forces in the region from mobilizing effectively and redirecting toward Taiwan if Beijing invades, which could leave the island with lesser defense capabilities, according to foreign policy experts.

“With all eyes on Israel, China’s under-the-radar but assertive pursuit of expanded military access in the Middle East demands closer policymaker scrutiny,” Craig Singleton, senior China fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said in a statement. “In establishing military outposts where America’s military might is strongest, Beijing is seeking to disrupt Washington’s ability to redirect its forces towards China’s periphery during a Taiwan contingency.”

The Oman base would complement China’s military logistics facility in Djibouti and pose a threat to American forces stationed in the region, according to Bloomberg. The base would also be positioned near the Strait of Hormuz, giving China access to a crucial shipping and trade route for oil and natural gas.

“A [Chinese Communist Party] base in Oman would have a significant negative impact on our ability to move forces out of the Arabian Gulf,” Garrett Exner, national security fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It also assists China in controlling the two largest chokepoints for global oil flows, and would threaten the entire concept of free commerce of the seas that the world has relied on for centuries.”

China is also constructing another military base in the United Arab Emirates and is about to finish construction on a naval base in Cambodia this year, according to FDD. These bases will work in concert with a network of Chinese military and intelligence hubs scattered throughout the Middle East and around the globe.

It is a pivotal goal for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to expand and exert “political and military influence in relevant regions,” especially in the Middle East, according to China’s Science of Military Strategy and Bloomberg.

Gordon Chang, foreign affairs expert and senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, told the DCNF that both in the Middle East and on a global level, China would mobilize every available asset to work against the U.S. and its Western allies during a Taiwan invasion.

“If China were to invade Taiwan or some other neighbor, Beijing will use every instrument of power to prevent American forces from rushing to the region,” Chang told the DCNF. “Ships from Chinese bases in the Middle East, China’s port operators at the Panama Canal, and Beijing’s saboteurs in the American homeland will all do their part. This will be a global struggle, and all of China will be in the fight.”

The White House and China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

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Jake Smith

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