Tried-and-true fiction of the one-China policy: Biden teases it

Harald Buchmann / The Biden administration is gradually changing its policy toward Taiwan, provoking China and risking a new conflict.

Promotion. Taiwan has been a subject of contention since the United States helped former dictator Chiang Kai-shek withdraw to the island in 1949. Since then, peace has been maintained through fantasy or “strategic ambiguity”: the West respects the demands of the People’s Republic of China and does not recognize Taiwan as a state, But he is allowed to integrate them and arm them economically. Infosperber already quoted in July 2021 Hinge Professor of political science Peter Beinart under the title: “Taiwan policy of the United States increases the risk of world war.” Meanwhile, the administration continues to provoke Biden.
Harald Buchmann of St. Gallen, who works for a Chinese technology company in Beijing and is also a journalist, summarizes the latest developments.

On May 22, US President Joe Biden answered a reporter’s question whether the United States would speed up military assistance to Taiwan in the event of an attack by the People’s Republic of China, unconditionally, “yes.” According to the Washington Post, this is the third time Biden has made statements on Taiwan that break away from traditional US “strategic ambiguity” on the issue.

Each time after this statement, White House officials tell the media that Biden did not quite mean it and that the status quo has not changed. But what matters more in international diplomacy: the president’s statements or the reassurances of background officials? This is a question that many people ask themselves not only in China, but also in the American media and think tanks, where the topic is now being discussed.

Especially since Biden is not the only one in the US government that makes such statements. Also the foreign ministerAnthony Blink Twice he referred to Taiwan as a country or state, even though it is officially a territory of China.

Minor change on the US State Department website

Particularly explosive against this background is the change made to the website of the US State Department, the State Department, in which some previously located clips under the heading “US Relations with Taiwan” have disappeared since May 28. And these all have it all, as seen from a look at the web archive, where the entry can be seen as it was before the change.

The original statement began by saying, “The relations between the United States and Taiwan are stable and informal. The 1979 Joint Statement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China shifted (shifted) diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.” With this formula, it is quite clear that Beijing now represents what former Taipei represented, that is, the government of all of China. In the third sentence, it was said that the United States recognized the Chinese position that there is only one China that also includes Taiwan. The exact thing about the statement: it acknowledges (acknowledges) the Chinese position, but does not share it (agrees). However, the appropriateness of this interpretation remains questionable in light of the above-mentioned “change in recognition from Taipei to Beijing”.

The second paragraph of the original statement begins with a short, unambiguous sentence: “The United States does not support Taiwan independence.”

And now for the new statement, which replaces the old: in the first two sections, you didn’t read anything about China at first. There is talk of a thriving democracy and a valuable society in Taiwan, of increased cooperation, of technological exchange, and of Taiwan being an important trading partner of the United States of America.

Only in the third section does the United States adopt a “long-term, one-China policy, guided by Law on Relations with Taiwanthe three Data shared between the United States and Chinaand the Six affirmations».

What these three documents mean is not explained in more detail on the US State Department’s website: why they were signed historically, nor even what Taiwan should do with China at all if you read the text without prior knowledge. The statement that the United States does not support Taiwan independence slipped into a minor clause in the third paragraph.

  • Head makes some slips;
  • Secretary of State twice uses a misnomer for Taiwan;
  • New US law requires the use of only maps showing Taiwan a different color than the People’s Republic of China;
  • A website that replaces clearly understood statements with formal references to various conventions.

None of this would be amazing on its own. But if it all happened together and in just a year, the question is what is the intention behind it.

Historically, the People’s Republic of China has made it unequivocally clear that the declaration of Taiwan independence is a red line. Taiwan can run itself completely independently as long as it does not officially question its affiliation with China, and therefore cannot enter into military alliances with other countries.

The People’s Republic of China has long stated that it prefers a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan over a “military solution”. The declaration of independence by Taiwan will inevitably lead to war. According to many Chinese experts, no leadership in the People’s Republic of China can bear the shame of finally losing such an emotionally charged region. The government will soon be overthrown and replaced by a government that is more nationalistic and does not fear war.


Interests of the author related to the topic

number. Harald Buchmann from St. Gallen works for a Chinese technology company in Beijing and is also a journalist. It complements the often biased media coverage of China in the mainstream media.
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Opinions expressed in articles on Infosperber correspond to the author’s subjective assessments.

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