I wonder based on the current agreements between United States and Taiwan, if Taiwan has the right to strike (fire) against PLA of China first when they feel they will be invaded by China but still able to obtain the military aid from United States?

I am thinking if Taiwan had to wait for China's first strike and then fight back, it would put them in a very disadvantaged situation (by then hundreds of PLA missles might have already landed on their military facilities. Hypersonic missles might arrive in just a couple of minites from mainland China to Taiwan). So is it written somewhere or has any U.S. officals mentioned that they allow or do not allow Taiwanese army to strike first in order to obtain U.S.'s military aid?

  • Before severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in the 70s, the Communist Army was not so strong then, but the US didn't offer military assistance that would enable KMD to retook mainland China, why, and what is different, now?
    – r13
    Aug 10, 2022 at 4:36
  • 2
    "the current agreements between United States and Taiwan" It would be good to link to them if possible. After all the question is based on them. If not possible maybe ask about them first. Aug 10, 2022 at 21:53
  • It bears mentioning that the ROC armed forces train and prepare exactly for the situation of 'China is invading, we need to last long enough in a somewhat functional state for the US navy to show up' and little else. The disadvantageous situation you describe is their openly stated strategic position. Jul 19, 2023 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


The USA does not currently guarantee that it will intervene militarily, even if the PRC stages an open "D-Day" style invasion. The only promise that the US has given is to "make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capabilities".

The USA might support Taiwan in various ways...or it might not. The USA only states that attempts to change the status of Taiwan by non-peaceful means are "grave concern".

Not making any promises is at the heart of "strategic ambiguity". So Taiwan would not be guaranteed US military support if they strike first. But they also would not be guaranteed US military support if they strike second. The US makes no guarantees to Taiwan.

  • Agreed, but if the US wanted to avoid coming to Taiwan's aid against China - for whatever reason - Taiwan having struck first would be an excellent excuse not to. Aug 11, 2022 at 1:31

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