In an unprecedented move, the United States has vowed to help protect Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. Has Ukraine just been a warm-up for something much bigger? Here is the full story.
Biden Supports Taiwan
In late August, the Biden administration notified congress that they had approved the sale of military equipment to Taiwan.
It Grabbed Attention
It’s a move usually reserved for sovereign nations, and one that definitely perked up the ears of war-watchers around the world.
Are They a Nation?
At issue is the ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the island nation in East Asia.
China Has Other Ideas
Officially the Republic of China, Taiwan has long been a hotbed of political dispute. Specifically, the Chinese government subscribes to the One China Principle.
All for One
That idea holds that both mainland China and Taiwan are part of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC.
They Want Independence
On the other hand, most people in Taiwan consider their country to be its own entity – a sovereign nation on its own.
Ties to Russia and Putin
Of course, the PRC is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, which has positioned them as strong allies of Russia and Vladimir Putin.
China Is Hard to Read
A holdover from the Cold War era, modern China shares much in common with the former Soviet Union. Aside from being a communist government, China is somewhat closed off in their communications with the outside world.
They Want What’s Theirs
And, like the Soviet Union and present-day Russia, China has definite ideas about which lands belong to them.
China Wants Taiwan
China president Xi Jinping has long held that Taiwan is part of China. Part of his reunification plan includes bringing the island nation under official Chinese rule.
They Might Use Force
Notably, the communist leader has said that using force to meet that objective is not off the table.
They Move Like Putin
If all that sounds familiar, it should. It’s an eerie parallel to the rhetoric and actions Putin took in the months leading up to the Russian invasion on Ukraine.
Ukraine Was Independent
One main difference was that Ukraine was already a recognized sovereign nation, but one that wasn’t part of NATO.
Ukraine Was Touchy
That meant the U.S. could not directly aid Ukraine without effectively declaring war on Russia. So America has skirted around the edges of the current European war.
Biden Made Himself Clear
But with Taiwan’s nation status in question, the Biden administration sent a clear message to China by opening up the possibility of supplying military equipment.
U.S. Wants to Maintain Peace
Citing the need to maintain peace in the region, and particularly in the Taiwan Strait, the press release noted that the U.S. is selling arms to Taiwan so it could maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
China Is Steamed
Not surprisingly, China is not happy with this development. The powerhouse’s Foreign Ministry said in various statements that they strongly opposed the move.
It’s a Security Compromise
More telling, the ministry said that the U.S. actions had already directly harmed China’s national security.
U.S. Aid Will Be Broad
While that might be a premature judgment, the Biden administration’s message to congress made it clear that the scope of U.S. aid could be broad.
It’s All on the Table
According to the memo, equipment on the table includes coastal and air defense systems, ballistic missiles, drones, training, soldier-level gear, and even cyber defense tools.
The Impact Was Immediate
It may take years for some of that equipment to reach Taiwan. But the thorn in China’s side was immediate.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Omri Eliyahu. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.