The DispatchThe Dispatch

China tries to flip an American ally

By Jonathan Schanzer

11 Jul 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Pacific island nation of Palau, which has a close relationship with the US, could play a crucial role in defending Taiwan from a potential Chinese invasion due to its proximity to Taipei. The US is currently building radar installations across Palau to detect and deter Chinese aircraft.

NGERULMUD, Palau—A tiny Pacific island nation with a population of 18,000 that few Americans can find on the map could be pivotal to defending Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. Even as the Pentagon builds capacity on Palau, however, China is hard at work trying to undermine the U.S.-aligned government—or even flip it.

Older Americans remember Palau for the brutal World War II battles of Angaur (nearly 200 American deaths) and Peleliu (more than 1,500 American deaths). Today it’s a remote but somewhat popular destination for divers, who relish the country’s pristine coral reefs. But the U.S. military sees value here because it is a mere three-and-half hour flight from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Such proximity could prove useful for stationing air and sea vessels, not to mention personnel.

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