Joe Biden ‘angered’ China over Taiwan says commentator
In an interview with Express.co.uk, Senior Fellow at the Taihe Institute in Beijing, Einar Tangen said: “Few neighbouring countries will be impressed if it becomes clear that Taiwan was used as a sacrificial lamb to maintain American hegemony.” However, Michael Dutton, a Professor of International Relations and Politics at Goldsmiths University who specialises in China’s postmodern history states that conflict may be off the cards.
Professor Dutton, also speaking to Express.co.uk said: “The West are uncomfortable with China, but it won’t be a traditional cold war, there will be a new version, more like an economic cold war.”
In terms of Taiwan, Professor Dutton said although President Xi has previously expressed the use of force could be an option in reuniting the country, it may not be simple as that.
He said: “Taiwan is a thriving economy and has an interesting society, which was 70 years has not been a part on the PRC, and hence differences will grow over this time, and Taiwan has identified itself as a vibrant democracy.”
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Believing that the US is stoking the fire when it comes to the tension seen in recent weeks between Beijing and Taipei, Mr Tangen said: “The perception and use of Taiwan as a card, rather than seeing it as a red line, is playing with fire.”
He continued: “It leaves Beijing wondering if Washington’s end game is to provoke an invasion, as a means of vilifying China as the aggressive autocratic government portrayed in its media disinformation campaigns.”
Yet Professor Dutton argues that the Western left-leaning schools of thought, rather than governments are the biggest vocal critics of China.
He said: “The left-winged Western powers are against China, over issues like human rights, and the left voice will raise injustice issues in China, and hence Taiwan falls into this.”
China has maintained a strong military force
Speaking of the potential gains and losses in the near future, Mr Tangen said: “Once again, what seems like a clever short term manoeuvre, risks armed conflict, while raising the spectre of neo-colonial gunboat diplomacy and division politics.”
Professor Dutton agrees that the AUKUS deal bringing a nuclear fleet to the region is “highly provocative, and history should teach us that imperialism and colonialism left a bitter taste in Chinese history, and the Chinese of today pride themselves in a strong sense of history”.
As the focus on international security moves from West Asia and into the Indo-Pacific region and the South China Sea, a change in the global security paradigm is taking place that could lead to a regional, and potentially global arms race.
Furthermore, recent support by US President Joe Biden, promising to uphold a law that requires Washington to defend Taiwan has enraged China.
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Taiwan promises it will defend itself, but relies on US hardware
Asked by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper if the US would come to Taiwan’s defence in the event of an attack by China. Mr Biden replied: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
A White House spokesperson later appeared to walk back Mr Biden’s comments, telling US media outlets that the US was “not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy”.
Professor Dutton argued that US-China tension is nothing new, suggesting that President Barack Obama tilted US policy East, and this was continued through Donald Trump and now Joe Biden.
Yet the US support of Taiwan does not end solely on the military front.
Recent words of encouragement have been thrown Taiwan’s way as the US on Saturday said Taiwan should have a “meaningful” role in the UN.
The US State Department said: “US participants reiterated the US commitment to Taiwan’s meaningful participation at the World Health Organization and UN framework convention on climate change and discussed ways to highlight Taiwan’s ability to contribute to efforts on a wide range of issues.”
Only a few countries recognise Taiwan as an independent nation in the UN, the US is not one of those countries