Home US Foreign Affairs US, China, and Taiwan: A Fire Triangle Fueled by Chinese Military Might in Taiwan

US, China, and Taiwan: A Fire Triangle Fueled by Chinese Military Might in Taiwan

by Eli Mshomi

The US and China tussle seem to have no limits at all as both countries are finding new avenues of bilateral tensions with every passing day. 

As Biden moves US foreign relations with Taiwan forward, China has already warned the United States “not to play with fire,” amid the developing tensions between China and Taiwan.

While on the one hand, China considers Taiwan as its own integral part; on the other, the United States envisions Taiwan as an independent island negating Chinese expansionist ambitions.

As China often intervenes in the domestic affairs of its neighboring countries, the US shows its support for the independent countries so that China must not pursue its expansion across the globe and endanger their national security. 

The United States has to see Taiwan’s independence not only as an act in itself but also as a part of a broader framework where China must not intervene in other countries, creating strategic ambiguity.

Having Taiwan free from Chinese control is also important for the US Pacific regional policy, where it is furthering its QUAD ambitions amid the rising distrust between the US and China.

As China warns the US to cut all the bilateral communications with Taiwan, what does it mean for US-China relations? Let’s see.

China and Taiwan Flags

China and Taiwan Flags

Biden’s Personal Signal to Taiwan: A Clear Message Negating Chinese Expansionist Ambitions

The Taiwan Relations Act marks its 42nd anniversary despite continuous Chinese ambitions of conducting combat drills in the Taiwanese territory.

The United States, under the Biden administration, celebrated this anniversary quite differently. They perceived it as an attempt to further their relations with Taiwan.

In this bid, Biden has already sent Taiwan a ‘personal signal’ with the help of the unofficial delegation, including Chris Dodd, a former US Senator, Richard Armitage, and James Steinberg, the former Deputy Secretaries of State. 

Although Taiwan has endorsed the communication, due to their lack of alternate options, the threat of China to the island remains intact.

Owing to its military might, China has the capability and capacity to invade the island and overrule the democratic regime.

Chinese Military Power

Chinese military show

Chinese Militaristic Ambitions in Taiwan and Beyond: A Strain in China and Taiwan Relations

Chinese capability to intervene in Taiwan’s domestic affairs is evident from the fact that recently 25 aircraft belonging to the Chinese military force invaded Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIS).

Therefore, the timing of the Biden administration sending unofficial signals to the island even means more for the bilateral relations.

It is also interesting to mention that Biden supported the Taiwan Relations Act when he was a Senator, so this policy of the Biden administration was very much predicted.

Despite Biden’s attempt to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, China should perceive it as a positive development, owing to the shift in the US policy from the erstwhile Trump’s policy.

While Biden endorsed, once again, a “one China” policy of the US, Trump often provoked China by using agitating phrases related to Taiwan, like “free China.”

Probably, China should perceive it as a positive development instead of further straining its relations with the United States. Otherwise, these tensions can build up along with other persisting Sino-US crises.

The United States does not have an option to backtrack from its current position on the issue of China and Taiwan.

It will portray the Biden administration’s inability to tackle the foreign affairs crisis, ultimately opening new avenues on which more countries can try to exploit the United States.

Without United States support, Taiwan will have no other option, giving China the freedom to invade the country.

Owing to the Chinese military force, it will give a green signal to China, helping it to continue its military exercises in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China sea., further deteriorating China and Taiwan relations.

 

Final Thoughts

Probably, it is high time for China to embrace the doctrine of peaceful coexistence and try to integrate itself with the persisting democratic designs. 

Gone are the days when countries had to use hard power to outplay competing countries. Mutual relations based on trust will benefit the United States, China and Taiwan

The agitating statements will continue to fuel the fire, further straining the relations between the top two global economies, the consequences of which will be faced by the whole world.

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