Is Biden right to support Taiwan if China invades?
- On May 23, 2022, at a press conference in Tokyo, President Biden said the US would defend Taiwan if provoked by China, asserting, “that’s the commitment we made.”
- Biden and the Prime Minister of Japan, Kishida Fumio, released a joint statement over their concerns about China’s actions from nuclear improvements to human rights issues. They asserted, “their basic positions on Taiwan remain unchanged, and reiterated the importance of peace and stability.”
- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that the “one China” policy has not changed under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 which establishes diplomacy between China under the expectation that relations with Taiwan will be “peaceful.” If threatened, the US will provide Taiwan with “defense articles and defense services” as necessary.
- In response to Biden, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, stated “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory” while expressing “strong dissatisfaction to the remarks by the US.”
After the debacle with the Afghanistan withdrawal and the failure to prevent the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US global prowess is becoming increasingly questionable. Allowing China to invade Taiwan would further diminish the ability of the US to exert influence on the global stage. Biden's recent remarks concerning the assured US defense of Taiwan only raises the stakes even higher for American influence.
Allowing China to acquire Taiwan would be a grave mistake, jeopardizing much of what the US and the world rely on—microchips—by placing it in the power of the Chinese. Taiwan produces more than 90% of the world's supply of advanced microchips, a critical component in the US economy, and is a key US trading partner. However, in terms of US interests, the case for defending Taiwan from a Chinese invasion extends beyond critical assets and trade partnerships.
To accurately discern this issue, it's important to look beyond the immediate crisis. If China were able to invade Taiwan without resistance, Beijing might see that as an indication of a declining US empire. It may seek to exert undue influence and even invade other areas within the region. As is well known, Taiwan is not China's sole interest; China is also expressly interested in controlling the South China Sea. Access to the South China Sea is invaluable to US allies in the region, and therefore the US, made clear by the US's commitment to protect the trade lane.
Because of Taiwan's importance to the US and world economy, to maintain American diplomatic influence, and the need to keep Chinese aggression in check—not only for the sake of Taiwan but for the entire region—Biden is right to support Taiwan now and in the future even if the Chinese invade.
President Biden recently stated he would support Taiwan if China invaded the nation, but this is a major mistake for a US president to state this openly. Taiwan is not Ukraine, and China is not Russia. China's desires to reunite with Taiwan, a land the CCP considers a 'breakaway province,' are long-standing under its 'One China' policy. Likewise, China has been preparing to advance militarily in the region for years; its air force regularly invades Taiwanese airspace to show its military prowess and learn more about Taiwan's air defenses.
Biden was also unwise to make this statement as Taiwan is not only 7000 miles away but is mainly indefensible, having a relatively small military that would be no match against the Chinese. It would exhaust US navy resources to transport any weapons to Taiwan as well, while China could quickly restock themselves as Taiwan and the mainland are only separated by a small body of water. Taiwan is far more valuable and significant to China than the US, so it is a strategic mistake openly saying we'd support Taiwan, as this is likely only to strain future US resources and inflame US-Chinese tensions.
The US is already economically battered following the COVID pandemic and sending $40 billion to support Ukraine. The US only has so much money and military equipment for another war, and historically, conducting wars in that part of the world has not been kind to America. Rather than losing American lives and resources, the US should start negotiating with China for a peaceful takeover of Taiwan. Sooner or later, Taiwan will fall, but we must avoid another Russia-Ukraine-type conflict. Defending Taiwan 'militarily' would lead to a bigger war and possibly global disaster.