fredag 8. oktober 2021

Beijing's relentless pressure on Taiwan is causing alarm in Washington

Beijing's relentless pressure on Taiwan is causing alarm in Washington as US power pivots toward Asia. China's rising military might and demonstrated willingness to ignore agreements it once made over Hong Kong's one-country-two-systems formula are changing the US strategic outlook for Taiwan. Since last Friday, China has dispatched nearly 150 warplanes into Taiwan's defense zone -- part of what the State Department describes as a series of "destabilizing" actions in the Taiwan Strait that risk resulting in "miscalculations." The self-governing island's defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, has also warned that Beijing will have the capacity within four years to mount a "full scale" invasion.

US President Joe Biden says he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan recently. "We agree we'll abide by the Taiwan agreement ... and we made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement," he said, apparently referring to bedrock documents of US-China relations that grant diplomatic recognition to Beijing rather than Taiwan and to the Taiwan Relations Act, which conditions recognition on the island's future being settled peacefully. The law also requires the US president to allow Taiwan to buy American weapons for its self-defense.

Washington has long maintained strategic ambiguity on how far it would go to defend Taiwan in the hope of deterring a declaration of independence by Taipei or an invasion by China.