China has always considered Taiwan part of its territory.
The democratically ruled island nation, inhabited by ex-mainland Chinese and original Malays, is a constant thorn in China’s side.
Now, as relations between Washington and Beijing continue to deteriorate, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stilwell, announced on Monday that the US is intensifying support to the island.
It is doing so because of “the increasing threat posed by Beijing to peace and stability in the region”.
In August, US President Donald Trump sent his health secretary to Taipei – the highest-ranking US official to travel to the island in years – angering Beijing.
He also boosted weapons sales.
“We will continue to help Taipei resist the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to pressure, intimidate, and marginalise Taiwan,” Stilwell said.
Julian Ku, professor of law at Hofstra University in New York and an expert on China’s relationship with international law took to Twitter to declare that Stilwell’s speech “says almost everything Taipei would want the US to say: China is the problem, not Taiwan; Taiwan needs more international room. The US will keep selling arms to Taiwan.”
China retaliated by accusing the US of still having “a cold war mentality”.
Al Jazeera notes that Trump is campaigning for re-election in November with a tough approach to China among his key foreign policy platforms. He is accusing his rival, Democrat Joe Biden, of being weak on China.
Washington hawks should be pleased to see more of a clear-cut US commitment to defend Taiwan and a strong show of support to deter Chinese military adventurism.