China Watch: Beijing Challenges Biden Over Taiwan
China Watch: Beijing Challenges Biden Over Taiwan
The US has a new president, and Beijing is wasting no time in poking the American eagle. So on Saturday, while Americans were following Joe Biden’s executive orders aimed at undoing everything Trump, China flew as many as 12 military planes over the southwestern corner of Taiwan. According to Taipei, they included eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets.
Now the Chinese Air Force flying near Taiwan is not new; it has conducted almost daily flights over the southern waters controlled by the nation, which China has claimed as its own. However, they have been mainly one or two reconnaissance aircraft, not combat aircraft.
Taiwan’s air force responded with missiles to “monitor” the planes, according to its Defence Ministry.
“Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issued, and air defense missile systems deployed to monitor the activity.”
Beijing offered no immediate comment, although in the past it has defended such actions by claiming them to be necessary to defend their security.
Beijing’s poke to America is an obvious challenge to the new Biden administration, especially after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angered Beijing in the waning days of the Trump administration. Pompeo had ended restrictions relating to official contacts with Taiwan, which pleased the little island nation.
Foreign minister Joseph Wu said:
“The closer partnership between Taiwan and the US is firmly based on our shared values, common interests and unshakeable belief in freedom and democracy.”
However, China was not happy. In a statement to the United Nations, the Chinese mission to the UN said:
“China strongly urges the United States to stop its crazy provocation, stop creating new difficulties for China-US relations… and stop going further on the wrong path.”
But that’s not all China has been up to since Joe Biden became president. China just gave its Coast Guard increased powers, in effect turning it into a quasi-military force. Now it has authorization to “carry out defense operations” under the orders of the Central Military Commission. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the orders on Friday, which will go into effect on February 1.
This new law may affect the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan and fall under the U.S.-Japan Defense Treaty. However, Beijing also claims the Senkakus as its own. What’s more, last year over 1100 Chinese ships entered the waters around the islands since the Senkakus fall within the “nine-dash line” — an area in the Pacific rich in oil and natural gas. China has expropriated that part of the South China Sea as its own since 1949; however, a number of nations have challenged Beijing’s claims, the most recent being Japan.
So what will Joe Biden do about the Beijing headache?
Apparently not much at this time. He’s got more things on his domestic plate: COVID, unrest at home, freezing Trump’s lower costs on insulin and epinephrine, pissing off Canada and destroying jobs by killing the Keystone XL pipeline, and pandering to the LGBT crowd. Joe has his domestic priorities.
But he also has international goals, too. These include getting back into the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization — the same WHO that has been in Beijing’s back pocket. Plus Biden does want to form a “Summit of Democracies” to deal with China, according to the Wall Street Journal. A “grand alliance,” gushed the WSJ. Of course that means rejecting anything Trump has done.
According to US News, quoting their “experts:”
“The main difference between the two administrations, Eurasia and other analysts say, is that Biden will seek the cooperation of allies in place of unilateral moves, hoping to secure the support of Europe, India and Australia against Chinese economic policies that affect them as well.”
Except the Trump administration had been working with Australia and Japan since 2018 in a strategy for the Indo-Pacific region. A recently declassified document showed how the three nations were fashioning ways to handle the challenges of China. Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australian National University, said:
“This is a highly significant document. It’s extraordinary that it’s been released decades early. I think it’s a signal about the kind of continuity that the permanent government of America, or if you like the officials, want to see in America’s relations with the Indo-Pacific, including in managing China’s power. . . .”
“One compelling conclusion we can draw from this strategic framework is that it’s an alliance-driven strategy. In some ways, the strategy is a vision of American followership, rather than American leadership.”
What, you never heard of this? Of course not. I found this news from a Twitter account I follow with links to Australian news sites. Far be it from American mainstream news to give the former president credit for anything.
So what will Joe Biden do about the problem of China? And will he stand up for brave little Taiwan? Good luck getting that grand alliance together to counter Beijing, since too many nations are dependent upon Chinese goods. In the meantime, however, China will keep threatening Taiwan, Japanese islands, and ships that venture into the South China Sea to show that it’s not afraid of Joe Biden.
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