Biden’s answer to the Taiwan question angers China

The US President again throws his weight behind the democratic island amid Beijing’s threats of aggression

Taiwan has been called “the most dangerous place on earth.”

The democratic island is less than 110 miles, or 177 kilometers, off the coast of China and is considered a “renegade province” by Beijing.

A remarkable claim since President Xi Jinping’s ruling Communist Party has never actually governed its near neighbor.

Closely allied to the United State, Taiwan has always been a flashpoint issue between Washington and Beijing

But since China’s rise as an economic and military power, those smoldering embers have been fanned by Comrade Xi’s inflammable brand of nationalism.

As relations deteriorate, US President Joe Biden has again clarified his position that American forces will defend Taiwan if the Chinese military attack the island.

In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes at the weekend, he reiterated comments made in May during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo. 

His remarks have infuriated Beijing.

“China reserves the right to take all necessary measures in response to activities that split the nation apart,” Mao Ning, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, told a media briefing on Monday.

“There is only one China in the world, Taiwan is part of China, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government of China,” she added.

If President Biden plans to defend Taiwan, then he should make sure the US military has the capability to do so.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Dire straits:

  • Cold War-style tension has reached unparalleled levels since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 24-hour visit to Taiwan last month.
  • In response, China launched live-fire naval drills, virtually encircling the island in a show of naked aggression.
  • Overhead, jets screamed through the skies amid the sound of missile launches.
  • “The exercises [China is conducting] are unprecedented,” state-run Global Times reported at the height of a highly choreographed operation.
  • Since then, forces attached to the People’s Liberation Army continue to cross the “so-called median line” in the Taiwan Strait.

Between the lines: Biden has made it clear he will stand by the self-governing island of 23 million, pushing the boundaries of Washington’s “strategic ambiguity” policy. But to do that, he will need to back it up by forcing Xi to blink first.

Show of strength: “If President Biden plans to defend Taiwan, then he should make sure the US military has the capability to do so,” Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said.

Key to deterrence: “Rhetorical support that isn’t backed up by real capabilities is unlikely to strengthen deterrence,” Glaser pointed out as reported by the Reuters news agency.

Delve deeper: Xi has become obsessed with “reunifying” Taiwan with the mainland. To do that, he would probably have to launch a massive strike in the next five years during his expected third term in office.

Ticking clock: “A growing proportion of the Chinese Communist Party and the Central Military Commission agrees that Xi’s departure from politics in five years’ time should usher in the end of Taiwan’s self-rule and its reunification with China,” Intelligence Online stated.

China Factor comment: In short, that can not be allowed to happen to one of the most vibrant democracies in the world.

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