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Biden’s Words About Taiwan Threatens Global Security

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Biden’s Words About Taiwan Threatens Global Security

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.


Once again, tensions are rising in Asia due to American interventionism against China. US President Joe Biden pledged on Monday, May 23, to the military defense of Taiwan if China tries to take control of the island by force in the future. In the midst of a global context of international security risk, the Democrat’s words sound truly irresponsible, as they openly threaten to start a conflict between two nuclear powers.

In his tour across the Asian continent, Joe Biden has strengthened Washington’s alliances in the region, presenting projects in opposition to China at various levels, mainly in the economic and commercial spheres. At his May 23 meeting with Japanese officials, the American leader and his advisers presented some key points of the new strategy to lessen Chinese economic influence over US partner countries in Asia. On the 24th, there is a meeting scheduled with the leaders of the QUAD, where the subject will change from the economic confrontation with China to the military one.

However, it was a statement by Biden outside of official meetings, during a press conference, that really worried geopolitical analysts over the last hours. When asked about the possibility of helping Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack on the island, the Democrat did not hesitate to respond positively, stating that this is a US commitment that would have become “even stronger” after recent events in Eastern Europe.

“Yes [US would defend Taiwan militarily]. That’s the commitment we made. We agree with a ‘One China’ policy. We signed onto it and all the attendant agreements made from there. But the idea that it [Taiwan] could be taken by force, just taken by force, it’s just not — it’s just not appropriate. It’ll dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. And so it’s a burden that is even stronger”, the President said.

The Chinese reaction was immediate, with a very incisive official statement on the topic. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “We urge the US side to sincerely abide by the One China principle and the three Sino-US Joint communiques, uphold their commitments not to support Taiwan’s independence, be careful in their words and actions on the Taiwan issue, and not send any misleading signals to the secessionist forces in Taiwan (…) On issues bearing on China’s core interests, including its sovereignty and territorial integrity, there is no room for compromise or concession”.

About the “One China policy” issue, there are many factors to consider. After Biden’s speech, several US officials spoke out saying that there has been no change in US policy on Taiwan. But despite this attempt to “soften” the situation, the change seems extremely real. Although in official documents the US is still committed to the idea of ​​One China, in practice, the country has adopted a pro-secessionist stance.

Historically, the US attitude on Taiwan has been called “strategic ambiguity”. The country recognizes the One China but maintains diplomatic ties with Taiwan as a de facto government, supporting a peaceful solution and “setting aside” Sino-American rivalries over this issue. In practice, however, the situation has changed. In October last year, Biden had already spoken of a US “commitment” to help Taiwan, which at the time had left several US officials in despair over how to justify such a statement with the existence of the idea of ​​”strategic ambiguity”. Now, with the reiteration made this week, the posture seems finally definitively changed.

In fact, Biden’s words, due to their delicate content, would make international tensions escalate at any moment. However, the current world situation makes everything even more complicated. Not only is the world under a severe security crisis, but the situation around Taiwan is becoming more and more intolerable for China. The autonomous island is increasingly militarizing, with extensive material, logistical and financial support from the US. Currently, US defense contractors maintain a reserve of more than 14 billion dollars in Taiwan, with equipment acquired by the island’s government in recent years. In addition, since last year, Beijing has repeatedly reported the existence of special training of Taiwanese citizens by Western military forces and mercenaries in secret programs that would be taking place on the island.

Last month, Admiral Michael Gilday, head of US naval operations, urged Taiwan to increase its defense capabilities immediately, considering the possible imminence of a “Chinese invasion”, which has further broadened the diplomatic discomfort between the US and China. The American praxis in Taiwan, in short, seems very similar to that assumed in Ukraine: claiming to have “data” that prove the imminence of an invasion in order to boost a militarization that creates instability in the strategic environment of a rival power.

The aim of Western-Taiwanese aggressiveness is simply to provoke China to react. And Biden’s words about what will happen if such a reaction happens makes the world even more tense. If Taiwan is part of China, as the US recognizes, it is China’s right to act preemptively to prevent separatist aggression. And there is no justification for Washington to intervene in this type of situation, breaking the international treaties it has signed and threatening to start a war with nuclear potential.

The only ethical, legal and easy way to prevent any military confrontation from taking place in Taiwan is with the West to stopping its sponsorship of local separatism and helping in the dialogue towards full unification.

Source: InfoBrics



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