The relationship between the United States and Taiwan is a subject of global interest and geopolitical significance. Recently, when President Joe Biden was asked about U.S. support for Taiwan’s independence, his negative response sparked various interpretations and discussions. This article delves into the history and current dynamics of the USA-Taiwan relationship, shedding light on why Biden’s stance is not a betrayal, but a continuation of a long-standing policy.
Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, has been at the center of international politics since the Kuomintang government’s retreat to the island under Chiang Kai-shek. Until 1971, Taiwan held China’s seat in the United Nations. However, a significant shift occurred in that year when the UN General Assembly recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate representative of China, including its membership in the Security Council. This decision was influenced by the necessity of acknowledging a nation with over a billion people and nuclear capabilities.
One Country, Two Systems.
In the wake of this recognition, the U.S. and Beijing agreed upon the “One Country, Two Systems” policy. This policy allows China to consider Taiwan as part of its territory in theory, while in practice, Taiwan operates as an entirely separate entity with its own democratic government, foreign policy, and military. This delicate balance is a cornerstone of the current status quo.
U.S. Commitment to Taiwan.
The U.S. Taiwan Relations Act is a pivotal piece of legislation that underpins the USA’s commitment to Taiwan. It includes provisions for direct military assistance, such as the supply of arms and military training, to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities. This commitment is crucial, especially considering China’s increasing assertiveness in claiming Taiwan as part of the “motherland,” a stance reinforced by Chairman Xi Jinping’s statements advocating for reunification.
Taiwan, observing the developments in Hong Kong, remains firmly against “returning to the motherland.” The island’s government and people are committed to maintaining their sovereignty and democratic way of life, ready to defend themselves if necessary.
Biden’s Stance and the International Implications.
President Biden’s assurance of military support to Taiwan in the event of Chinese aggression is a significant reaffirmation of the U.S.’s obligation to Taiwan’s defense. His recent statement, which may appear as non-supportive of Taiwan’s independence, actually aligns with the longstanding U.S. policy of maintaining the status quo. This policy is not about endorsing Taiwan’s formal independence but about ensuring that any change to Taiwan’s status comes peacefully and consensually, not under coercion or military force from China.
The USA-Taiwan relationship is a complex interplay of historical policies, strategic commitments, and global power dynamics. Biden’s recent remarks reflect a nuanced approach to this relationship, prioritizing stability and peace in the region while upholding the commitment to Taiwan’s right to self-defense and de facto independence. As global tensions fluctuate, this relationship remains a key indicator of the balance of power in East Asia and the commitment of the U.S. to its allies and the principles of democratic governance.