by John Hugh DeMastri
American businesses, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small firms, are preparing to evacuate staff and assets from Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, Politico reported Thursday.
The Chinese military has been ramping up intimidation tactics against the island following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s two-day visit, most recently firing “precision missile strikes” into the Taiwan Strait as a show of targeted force, according to Fox News Thursday. The country’s ramped up drills have left some companies spooked after the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to dozens of major corporations escaping or having their assets seized, according to Politico.
“I have seven fortune 500 companies asking me to pre-plan and build an outline of triggers for them to start moving people, infrastructure, and assets,” said Dale Buckner, CEO of security firm Global Guardian, told Politico. “There are some companies that are taking this very seriously [because] they don’t want to happen what just happened in Russia where they lost billions of dollars’ worth of assets, both financial and hard, so they are already looking to disperse people and assets [to other countries].”
Russia has seized foreign assets that were not tied directly to the Ukrainian invasion or located within Ukraine, seizing the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in eastern Russia, which foreign companies Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi held an almost 50% stake in together, according to The Hill in July.
“While we’ve consistently said there’s no direct impact or ‘trigger’ in terms of increased Taiwan war risk, the ‘Ukraine effect’ has made companies vastly more aware of and sensitive to geopolitical risk,” Andrew Gilholm, director of analysis on China and Korea at Control Risks, told Politico.
Thank you to the #G7 for supporting regional peace & stability. #Taiwan is committed to defending the status quo & our hard-earned democracy. We’ll work with like-minded partners to maintain a free & open Indo-Pacific.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) August 4, 2022
The Taiwanese government, while acknowledging companies’ fears, is downplaying the dangers to foreign companies.
“Taiwan remains a safe, stable, and reliable partner for doing business,” a spokesman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, located in Washington, D.C., told Politico Thursday.
Companies struggled to get out of Russia, even as they faced mounting pressure from the public, as contracts and long-term investments make unilateral suspension difficult and in some cases illegal, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in March. Suspension of certain contracts required the approval of the Russian government, which David Shear, president of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the company that owns Burger King and Popeye’s, said “will not practically happen anytime soon.”
Locally, the Taiwanese National Palace Museum, which hosts famous collections of relics from the imperial era of China, is beginning “wartime response excercise[s]” to evacuate crucial artifacts and prepare staff for war, CNN reported last week.
Global Guardian, Control Risks, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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John Hugh DeMastri is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.