Former US Defense Secretary Believes South Korea Would Get Involved In Taiwan/China Conflict
SOUTH KOREA - Former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that South Korea will have no choice but to intervene with the United States in the Taiwan Strait if conflict breaks out between China and Taiwan.
During an interview with VOA Tuesday, Esper stated that it would be difficult to imagine South Korea not intervening if Washington is involved in such a conflict, but said that the intervention could be military means or sanctions.
"China has used its economic might against Korea, particularly with the initial deployment of the Thaad site, China has used its economic might against Australia, and other countries around the world, but it’s not going to get any easier if you kowtow to them every time they do this".
"Which is why I think it’s imperative, again, that the democracies of the Indo-Pacific and certainly the world stand up to the Chinese and say we’re not going to tolerate this behavior," he added.
Esper called for a permanent deployment of F-35 jets in South Korea in order to counter the threat from the North saying, "[The] threat from North Korea is real and it would be immediate if Kim Jong-un decided to do something, so I was always a big believer in having our most advanced capabilities forward, and in this case, it would be the F-35 given what it brings to the battle space".
Esper also said that South Korea should be more active and request to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.
"Maybe the Quad partners aren’t inviting but I think Seoul should knock on that door pretty loud, and ask to enter, push to join," he said.