Joe Biden met Chinese leader Xi Jinping yesterday where the two discussed Taiwan, the war in Ukraine, the global economy, climate change and more.
According to Biden, it was a productive meeting full of chances to communicate and build bridges between the two nations.
More skeptical observers saw a Chinese authoritarian taking advantage of a senile old man who has no coherent policy for the Indo-Pacific and the Chinese threat.
Now Biden is coming out of the meeting with a key takeaway on Taiwan and answering the question will China attack?
Communist China vs. Taiwan
Communist China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory. The island nation considers itself to be the real China and is also referred to as the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan split off from the mainland in the aftermath of the 1949 Communist Revolution in which Mao Zedong and his communist forces defeated the nationalists under Chang Kai-Shek.
China has been building up naval and air force assets around Taiwan, including buzzing its airspace and violating neutrality in the South China sea, raising concerns that an invasion could come any day.
But following his Monday meeting in Bali with Xi, Biden says it’s not going to happen, at least not “imminently.”
Biden said that a new “Cold War” is unnecessary and he doesn’t think it’s going to happen. His meeting with Xi stressed that the US and China can work together instead of being pitted against each other.
Biden said he hopes the situation “never” reaches the stage of actual war, but that the US support for Taiwan has not changed in any way.
As China threatens to invade, US & Intl community must work to deter attack. A free Taiwan is in our best interest. 1/ pic.twitter.com/rMY78zMpnc
— Nadine Maenza (@nadinemaenza) November 13, 2022
Why You Should Worry
This is Biden’s first face to face with Xi in his presidential term. The two said nice words and nodded and smiled, but tensions have never been higher.
At the very least, Xi was honest about the tension that’s going on, as opposed to Biden’s bland statement.
In any case, Biden’s assurance that Taiwan is safe for the “imminent” future should have us all worried.
The reason is mainly Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and last year’s US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Russia watched America leave Afghanistan and felt emboldened to roll into their neighbor and try to crush it.
China is currently watching Russia commit mass slaughter in Ukraine and feeling emboldened to try to crush Taiwan (or as they call it, “liberate” Taiwan.)
Biden’s promises don’t mean a lot when they’re not backed up by action, and despite strong US support for Taiwan they do remain extremely vulnerable to Chinese attack.
There’s only so long a small nation can hold up to a massive incoming force, especially when other allies like Japan have been threated to be hit with nuclear weapons by China if they intervene to help Taiwan.
When asked how the U.S. can support Taiwan in the event of an attack from China, Sen.Tom Cotton said Sunday, “The simplest thing we can do for Taiwan is…provide them with the weaponry they need to stop an invasion.” pic.twitter.com/jddUMUCo8t
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 14, 2022
The Bottom Line
This isn’t all Biden’s fault, but the weak leadership that took root under Obama and is flowering under Biden has a lot to do with this horrible situation and tension.
This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.