China has grown increasingly aggressive towards Taiwan in recent years, with President Xi Jinping pledging to inglobate the island back into the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While not universally acknowledged as an independent country, the United States has long been committed to protecting Taipei’s autonomy from Beijing. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken this week issued a dire warning to China, insisting attempts to invade Taiwan would be “potentially disastrous” for the PRC.
Asked whether China will invade Taiwan, Mr Blinken told Reuters: “That would be a potentially disastrous decision.
“We’ve been able over the last 40+ years to manage this question and manage it effectively, in a way that’s allowed remarkable progress for the people in Taiwan.
“A strong democracy, a strong economy, an innovative country that has a lot to contribute the world.
“And done it in a way that’s maintained important stability in the relationship between the United States and China, grounded in the One China policy that we continue to adhere to.”
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He continued: “Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in the last couple of years is Chian trying to change that status quo by increasing the pressure on Taiwan by engaging in provocative military manoeuvers and actions, by trying to isolate Taiwan and deny its engagement with the rest of the world, with the international community.
“That’s what’s dangerous.
“We’re resolutely committed to Taiwan, to making sure it has the means to defend itself.
“Again, I hope China’s leaders think very carefully about this and not precipitating a crisis that would have terrible consequences for lots of people and one that is no one’s interest, starting with China.”
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Mr Biden caused a stir in October when he said Washington, which is obliged by a 1979 law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked.
The US President’s remarks broke away from the US’ long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan as to how Washington would respond to such a scenario.
The White House said Mr Biden was not signaling a change in policy toward Taiwan, and some analysts dismissed his comments as a gaffe.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to defend the island and says only its people can decide its future.