It is easy to criticize or make fun of a government official, but observing the ongoing missteps of President Joe Biden can bring one up short.
The legally dubious COVID vaccine mandate, the debacle of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the Department of Justice threats against school board critics are among serious issues surrounding the Biden administration. And it’s sobering to watch these bad decisions against the background of a growing world threat — China.
As tensions grow between China and Taiwan, Biden had a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The president told reporters on Tuesday that he was assured Bejing would abide by the status quo “Taiwan agreement,” according to Reuters.
“Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s long-standing policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which makes clear that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means,” the outlet said.
The call came amid increasing saber-rattling by China, which has considered forcing Taiwan, an island 100 miles off its coast, to reunite with the mainland.
Since Friday, nearly 150 Chinese air force planes have entered the Taiwanese defense zone, according to Reuters. Both the U.S. and Taiwan have condemned the actions.
And China recently added 11 new amphibious ships and is in the process of designating all China-flagged ships equipped for military service.
That would be moving toward the projected thousands of ships required to invade Taiwan, according to Ian Easton, a Project 2049 Institute analyst.
China will be able to make a full invasion of Taiwan by 2025, according to Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, who described Bejing-Taipei relations as the worst they’ve been in 40 years, Reuters said.
Against the background of Chinese threats, Biden told reporters on Tuesday, “I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree — we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement, that’s where we are. And we made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.”
Biden then walked away from reporters, taking no questions and proving no clarification.
The Taiwan agreement apparently referred to the decades-long charade the U.S. and China have played out over the status of the former Chinese island once known as Formosa, where anti-Communists fled in 1949 following the Communist takeover of the mainland.
The dissidents set up the independent nation of Taiwan, which the U.S. long recognized as the “real” China. In 1979, the U.S. switched recognition to Bejing. There was a tacit agreement that Taiwan was part of mainland China, but the U.S. pledged to defend Taiwan as needed.
The revised U.S. stance took no position on whether Taiwan is an independent nation, according to Reuters.
Given the perceptions of weakness on the part of the U.S. following the Biden administration’s abandonment of allies in Afghanistan, it’s no wonder China is flexing its muscles against Taiwan.
Nevertheless, U.S. support for Taiwan remains “rock solid,” according to a statement Sunday by Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department.
The people of Taiwan no doubt hope so.
But given what recently happened in Afghanistan, they are probably wondering.
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