Does Joe Biden Have a Taiwan Crisis with China Brewing?

Does Joe Biden Have a Taiwan Crisis with China Brewing?

Washington has been under pressure over the rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

President Joe Biden’s administration has quickly brushed off a new warning from China that demanded that it change its policy toward the island nation of Taiwan.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been quoted as saying that Washington needs to make genuine efforts to roll back what he termed the Donald Trump administration’s “dangerous practice” of overtly displaying support for Taiwan.

Wang added that Beijing absolutely has “no room for compromise” on the matter.

However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, recently asserted that the United States and the Biden administration will seek to maintain and strengthen its long-standing commitments to Taiwan.

“We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” she said. “So, our position remains the same.”

Biden’s administration has previously stated that U.S. commitment to Taipei is “rock solid.”

The United States currently has no official relations with Taiwan’s democratically elected government—which split from the mainland in 1949—but is known to have extensive informal ties.

This past weekend, Wang seemingly doubled down on Beijing’s claim to Taiwan, even calling it an “insurmountable red line” that shouldn’t be attempted to cross.

“The Chinese government has no room for compromise or concessions on the Taiwan issue,” he said in an annual news conference during the meeting of the National People’s Congress.

“We urge the new U.S. administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue” and “completely change the previous administration’s dangerous practices of crossing the line” and “playing with fire,” he added.

Wang, however, offered no hints regarding how Beijing might retaliate if U.S. policy continues forward on its current path.

The minister also took time to defend Beijing’s controversial electoral reforms in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong. The reform plans are expected to ensure that Beijing loyalists are in charge of the territory’s governance, which has operated in the “one country, two systems” framework for more than two decades.

He added that the reforms would help contribute to long-term stability in the region and bring about a “brighter future” for the city.

Wang also addressed alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the South China Sea.

“It is hoped that the United States and China will meet each other halfway and lift the various unreasonable restrictions placed on Sino-U.S. cooperation to date as soon as possible, and not create new obstacles artificially,” he said, adding that the accusations of human rights abuses directed toward Muslim Uighurs were “absurd.”

China’s treatment of the ethnic minority group has received much international criticism over the years, and was recently ramped up when the U.S. State Department called it a “genocide” in late January.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.