China frequently lashes out at the US over its backing for Taiwan, saying it amounts to interference in its internal affairs. Xi told Biden in the March call that the issue could “have a disruptive impact on the relationship between the two countries” if it was not properly handled, and has referred to China’s quest to gain control of the democratically ruled island as a “historic mission.”
Earlier this week, Admiral Michael Gilday, the top American naval officer, said Taiwan must prepare itself against potential Chinese aggression through military deterrence that includes getting the right weapons and training. Gilday said this was the “big lesson learned and a wakeup call” following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The US has stepped up its backing for Taiwan since the war in Ukraine started, with a group of senior senators including Republican Lindsey Graham visiting last month. China responded to that trip by conducting air and naval training near the island.
Last week, the State Department updated a Taiwan factsheet posted on its website, dropping a reference to not supporting the island’s independence, and describing it as “a leading democracy and a technological powerhouse.” It also said Taiwan was a key partner in the semiconductor industry and “other critical supply chains.”
On Wednesday, more than 50 senators signed a letter urging Biden to include Taiwan as a partner in the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, part of Washington’s efforts to counter China’s clout in Asia. Biden will hold a summit in Tokyo with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia as part of a trip to Asia that begins later this week.
I visited Taiwan before the pandemic because I regretted never having had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong before the handover. A large number of factors continue to converge around the Taiwan question. The country has prospered in a geopolitical grey area for decades. That is becoming progressively more difficult as geopolitical tensions amplify.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top