US, Taiwan to benefit if Taiping Island is leased to US military: think tank

In a move that may anger China, a think tank of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan has proposed leasing Taiping Island to the US military.

The proposal comes amid rising tension in the South China Sea between China and the US on the one hand and China and nations like the Philippines and Vietnam on the other.

The US has been challenging China’s efforts to militarise the disputed region by setting up runways and conducting drills in artificial islands like Woody.

The think tank hopes Washington may welcome the lease offer since it may be looking for a stationary base in the disputed region to closely monitor China’s activities.

The proposal may also benefit Taiwan that has its southernmost military outpost on Taiping Island, the largest natural feature of the Spratlys.

US military’s presence on Taiping Island can preclude military attack by China which keeps saying it would unify the mainland and Taiwan through use of force.

The proposal made by some of Taiwan’s top military officials has received positive reaction.

However, critics of the proposal say such a move by Taipei could push the country to the brink of war.