News & Insights


Executives Seek Briefings On Taiwan War Risk

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s actions in Indo-Pacific raise alarm in boardrooms


July 11, 2022

As originally appeared in Financial Times.

Company executives are increasingly concerned about the possibility of war over Taiwan, according to consultants who have seen a sharp rise in demand for briefings following the invasion of Ukraine.

Eric Sayers, head of the Indo-Pacific practice at Beacon Global Strategies, said China’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong coupled with the Ukraine invasion had “rapidly accelerated” the fears.

“A year ago Beacon would occasionally be asked a question or two about Taiwan from our clients,” said Sayers.

“We are now being asked to brief CEOs directly on Taiwan politics and the military situation [and to] organise meetings with senior US officials or retired military leaders to understand how they view the situation.”

Sayers said Beacon was also being asked to create briefings on the 2024 election in Taiwan. He added that some companies even wanted them to organise table-top exercises to help executives understand how a Taiwan crisis might unfold as they think about contingency planning.

Anxiety about Taiwan has risen rapidly over the past two years as China has flown more and more warplanes near the island, a democratically ruled country over which Beijing claims sovereignty. President Joe Biden recently highlighted the tensions when he warned during a visit to Japan that the US would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan from any Chinese attack.

Some companies became concerned after Philip Davidson, then head of US Indo-Pacific command, in March 2021 said China could take military action against Taiwan by 2027. Officials played down his comment, but in recent months some have started to speak more openly about the risks.

In May, director of national intelligence Avril Haines, said Taiwan faced an “acute” threat from China this decade. In March, Admiral John Aquilino, head of Indo-Pacific command, told the Financial Times that the Ukraine invasion should remind people that the threat to Taiwan was not abstract.

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