One observer claims that the president's declaration that the United States would protect Taiwan from a Chinese invasion "doesn't have the characteristics of an off-the-cuff statement."
President Joe Biden has escalated tensions between the two countries by categorically promising a US military coup if China invades Taiwan.
Vice President Joe Biden stated that the United States military would protect Taiwan "if in reality there was a major attack" on the sovereign island in an interview that aird on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday.
Biden's remarks marked the fourth time since August 2021 that the United States would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion. He did not specify what a "unprecedented" attack on Taiwan would involve. In each instance, aides have retracted remarks that seemed to contradict the country's long-standing commitment to supporting Taiwan.
Biden's admission underscores the administration's conviction that the United States must enact stronger deterrence against Taiwan, which is being fueled by China's fears that the island would collapse into an independent state.
“I think we can all agree that it was not a mistake at this point — four times in a row... Oriana Skylar Mastro, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, explained that this “means that there are individuals in the administration who believe that demonstrating a greater willingness to defend Taiwan will help reestablish deterrence.”
Biden promises to defend Taiwan militarily, setting a new precedent for his administration's willingness to respond to a potential Chinese assault with greater candor. It also reflects growing concerns about Beijing's intentions following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stalemate in Taiwan last month, as well as the ongoing violations of the median line between Taiwan and China by Chinese military aircraft.
Daniel Russel, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and vice president for international security and diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute, told POLITICO that "no previous president has chosen to prejudge the decision that he will make in the event of a hypothetical Chinese military strike." This was an informal conversation where one would have expected to prepare the president for the answer that he would make.
Taiwan's conflict has sparked a debate.
After Biden's remarks in Taipei, many people applauded him.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Taiwan expressed its sincere gratitude to President Biden for once again expressing his commitment to Taiwan's security sincehes.
But Beijing was outraged by his remarks.
Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that the United States' actions "very contravene the pledge the United States made not to support Taiwan's independence."
The Communist Party of China describes the "historical mission" of "reunification with Taiwan," a region that it has never controlled, as a basis for Xi Jinping's presidential campaign in July. Liu Jieyi, the director of the Chinese government's Taiwan Affairs Office, has called "national reunification" Beijing's code for annexing Taiwan an "inevitable requirement" of Xi's aggressive "national rejuvenation."
"We will not renounce the use of force," according to a white paper released by the Chinese government last month. "We reserve the opportunity of taking all necessary measures."
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the 1982 Six Assurances, and the US-China Three Communiqués all encapsulate the United States' relationship with Taiwan. According to the TRA, the US is required "to exercise any force or other forms of coercion that might harm the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan." However, the TRA indicates that the US is actively maintaining the status quo on the island.
Biden's comments were applauded by Republicans in Congress.
I'm pleased that the president has taken a firm stance on Taiwan's defense once more. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a leading Republican, said in a statement: "I hope this marks the end of flip-flopping on US security concerns for Taiwan.
Beijing has no surprises.
In an attempt to calm Beijing, White House officials hastily asserted that Biden's remarks were consistent with the Three Communiqués agreements.
"The president's pronouncements speak for themselves, and I do believe our policy has been consistent, has remained, and will continue," said Kurt Campbell, the US National Security Council's Indo-Pacific coordinator at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace meeting on Monday.
The administration's response demonstrates an effort to warn Beijing of the possible repercussions of an attack on Taiwan, while reaffirming the US' commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Robert Murrett, a retired vice president of Syracuse University's Maxwell School for Professional Public Policy, said in an interview that the administration's statements and the President's remarks on this were intended to increase China's deterrent effect and allow us to maintain tensions at a somewhat lesser level.
Biden's remarks will not surprise the People's Liberation Army, which has always considered the possibility of a military intervention when considering a potential Taiwan military strike.
Aaron Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and a former deputy assistant for national security affairs in the Office of the Vice President, said the PRC is certain that they will support Taiwan. They are preparing accordingly.
Threat and bluster
As a result of Biden's comments, some China experts have called on the administration to revisit current US government commitments to China about Taiwan's status.
According to David R. Stilwell, a former assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, "Everything Xi has done since 2012 has aimed to make Taiwan even less desirable for him to participate in his enormous'rejuvenation' project." "Why do we continue to insist on this one-China policy, I wonder?"
If Beijing attempts to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, the United States is threatened with harsh retaliation.
Last month, China's Foreign Ministry said that the Taiwan dispute is the most significant and delicate issue at the core of the country's relations with the United States. According to the ministry, any attempts by the United States to alter its relationship with Taiwan are "like playing with fire," and are "extraordinary."
It's possible that this isn't just a bluster.
"Any action by the US or by the US president that seeks to support the worst-case scenario in Beijing's perspective increases their resentment, their paranoia, their anger [and] strengthens their most extreme right-wing elements," according to Russel. It impedes the possibility of any sort of settlement or collaboration between us, and accelerates the deterioration of our strategic rivalry.
The Biden administration has a challenge in balancing its determination to thwart a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan with its willingness to shed blood and spend money to keep the island away from Beijing.
“Most people believe that the United States will take steps to protect Taiwan. This is the key question,” said Stanford professor Skylar Mastro. Are we still prepared to fight after 10,000, 20,000, or 30,000 deaths? There is nothing in Biden's remarks that clarifies the situation for the Chinese.