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CORRESPONDENT

Quemoy, Matsu Islands 'Not Important' to Taiwan's Defense

John Gizzi By Friday, 24 May 2024 07:12 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Sixty-four years ago, the tiny Taiwanese islands of Quemoy and Matsu drew international attention and the question of whether the U.S. would rush to their defense if they were attacked by mainland China was one of the top issues for debate in American politics.

On Thursday, Dr. Si-Fu Ou, director of Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research, made it clear to Newsmax that the widespread view in the Taiwan defense community is that, while China had never retreated from its long-held belief of retaking Taiwan as part of the mainland, "it would not take offshore islands at this point."

In 1960, a good chunk of the second televised debates between presidential contenders John Kennedy and Richard Nixon was devoted to Quemoy and Matsu. Democrat Sen. Kennedy had said the month before "Quemoy and Matsu are not essential to the defense of Formosa [then the common name for Taiwan]" and, during the debate, he twice quoted Admiral Harry Yarnell, retired commanding officer of the Asiatic Fleet, as saying the two islands "are not worth the bone of a single American."

"I disagree completely," countered Republican Vice President Nixon, "The question is not these two little pieces of real estate … It's the principle … If we do that we start a chain reaction because the Communists aren't after Quemoy and Matsu, they're after Formosa ... This is the same kind of woolly thinking that led to disaster for America in Korea."

Now in 2024, while Taiwan may be discussed, the two once universally recognized islands of Quemoy (known to Taiwanese as "Shinshin") and Matsu will not.

"China wants to take Taiwan back, so our defense focus is Taiwan itself," Dr. Ou told Newsmax. "Quemoy and Matsu are not very important for Taiwan to defend. We don't see them as important."

He noted that where there were once 50,000 troops stationed in Taiwan's offshore islands, there are now only 1,000 stationed there.

"The offshore islands are only part of the stake [for China to attack] and not too significant," he added.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
Sixty-four years ago, the tiny Taiwanese islands of Quemoy and Matsu drew international attention and the question of whether the U.S. would rush to their defense if they were attacked by mainland China was one of the top issues for debate in American politics.
quemoy, matsu, attacked, china, taiwan, defense, troops
361
2024-12-24
Friday, 24 May 2024 07:12 AM
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