Joint US-China commitment became evident when US President Biden stated that he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had agreed to uphold the “Taiwan agreement.”
- The United States and China have agreed to uphold the “Taiwan agreement,” enabling Washington to have a “firm unofficial” contact with Taiwan.
- The statement comes amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Taipei, following China’s four-day invasion of Taiwan’s airspace by dozens of military jets.
- While the “One China” policy is an important pillar of Sino-US relations, it is different from the One China principle, according to which China claims Taiwan is a part of one China.
Mr. Biden seemed to be referencing the United States’ long-standing “one China” policy, which affirms China rather than Taiwan.
This agreement, however, entitles Washington to maintain “robust unofficial” relations with Taiwan.
Biden’s declaration of a joint US-China commitment is a breath of fresh air amid worsening relations.
A brief overview of China-Taiwan relations
It is essential to consider the president’s statement (joint US-China commitment to upholding Taiwan agreement) in light of the following basics of China-Taiwan relations:
Why are China and Taiwan’s relations so strained? China and Taiwan were split during the 1940s civil war, but Beijing maintains that the island will be restored eventually, by force if necessary.
What governance format applies in Taiwan? The island has its constitution, democratically elected leaders, and armed forces of roughly 300,000 active troops.
Which country recognizes Taiwan? Only a few countries recognize Taiwan. Instead, the majority recognize the Chinese government in Beijing. Though the US has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it is required to aid the island with self-defense capacity.
The revelation comes as tensions between Taiwan and Beijing continue to rise.
For four consecutive days, China has sent “record numbers” of military jets into Taiwan’s air defense space, which various analysts believe might be seen as a threat to Taiwan’s president ahead of the island’s national day.
Taiwan is a sovereign state with its constitution, military, and democratically elected authorities.
On the other hand, Beijing regards Taiwan as a secessionist province and has not ruled out the possibility of using force to restore the island.
Taiwan’s defense minister noted Wednesday that military tensions with China were at their worst peak in more than 40 years.
Chiu Kuo-cheng stated that by 2025, China would be capable of carrying out a “full-scale” invasion of Taiwan.
“By 2025, China will achieve the lowest cost and attrition rates in the world. It has the means currently, but starting a war will be difficult because many other factors must be weighed,” he added, according to a Reuters reporting.
Adapting the joint US-China commitment stance around the “One China” policy.
The “One China” policy is a pivotal pillar of Sino-US relations to which Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi are presumed to have spoken. Still, it is different from the One China principle, according to which China contends that Taiwan is an integral part of one China that would one day be annexed.
“I’ve discussed Taiwan with Mr. Xi. We agree that we will comply with the Taiwan agreement,” President Biden stated. “We made it clear that I feel he should be working per the agreement.
Analysts previously cautioned that Beijing is increasingly anxious that Taiwan’s administration is easing the island closer to a formal declaration of independence and seeks to stop President Tsai Ing-wen from taking any such steps.
Mr. Chiu’s recent warning stems as a Taiwanese parliamentary committee debates a T$240 billion ($8.6 billion) special military spending budget for the next few years, the most of which will go toward naval armaments.
The US continues to sell munitions to Taiwan in compliance with Washington’s Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the US to assist Taiwan in part defense.