Under Biden the US Navy has sent warships through the contested Taiwan Strait six times in only five months, suggesting the White House is perpetuating Trump’s confrontational China policy, also as high level US delegations – the latest being early this month led by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who visited Taipei provocatively on a military transport plane – continue to periodically visit Taiwan.
On Thursday a senior US diplomat in Taiwan revealed crucial context concerning the Democratic administration’s long-term policy concerning the ROC, saying that the US has shifted to viewing the contested island’s status as an “opportunity” to countering Beijing.
“In a speech in Taipei, Raymond Greene, deputy head of the de facto embassy the American Institute in Taiwan, said when he first worked in Taiwan almost two decades ago, everything it did related back to cross-Taiwan Strait issues and how Taiwan fit into the U.S.-China relationship,” Reuters reports.
But in the last three years, Greene explained, there’s been “a fundamental change in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship” defined by more overtly ramped up efforts at bolstering Taiwan sovereignty. Greene said,
“In contrast, these past three years, our efforts have been overwhelmingly focused on deepening the bilateral US-Taiwan relationship…”
“The United States no longer sees Taiwan as a ‘problem’ in our relations with China, we see it as an opportunity to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and also as a beacon to peoples around the world who aspire for a more just, safe, prosperous, and democratic world.”
No doubt sensing Washington’s recent less ambiguous and muscle-flexing posture, China has responded by its own unprecedented number of military flights near the island, including sending large long-range bombers, which at this point have occurred on a near-daily basis for months.
— USNI News (@USNINews) June 23, 2021
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s own bellicose comments are only adding to the ratcheting military tensions:
China’s escalating military intimidation of Taiwan shows the self-governed island “needs to prepare” for a possible military conflict, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an exclusive interview with CNN.
His warning came one week after the island reported the largest daily incursion by Chinese military planes into Taiwan’s self-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Recall too the US-China public spat during March’s Anchorage summit, wherein China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi bluntly challenged Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan by telling them the United States “isn’t qualified to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.”