The response, angry, was not long in coming. China castigated this Monday, September 19 the recent remarks of American President Joe Biden, who again assured that the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of Chinese intervention, Beijing denouncing a “serious violation” diplomatic promises from Washington.
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These words of Joe Biden constitute “a serious violation of the important commitment of the United States not to support the independence of Taiwan”reacted Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This sends a bad, serious signal (of support) to the separatist forces campaigning for Taiwan independence”she said to the press.
A position already announced at the end of May
Sunday, during an interview with the television channel CBSJoe Biden said the United States would defend Taiwan’si an unprecedented attack were to occur”.
Joe Biden had already annoyed Beijing by saying last May that the United States would intervene militarily to support Taiwan in the event of an invasion by Communist China. He then went back, affirming his attachment to “strategic ambiguity”.
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China believes that Taiwan, with a population of 23 million, is one of its provinces that it has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949). In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime that once ruled mainland China and now only rules Taiwan.
By three joint press releases signed in 1972, 1979 and 1982, the United States notably undertook to recognize the Beijing government as the sole legitimate representative of China. Washington cut its diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.
Sino-US relations at rock bottom
Joe Biden’s remarks come after a significant rapprochement between the United States and Taiwan, at a time when Beijing-Washington relations are at their lowest in decades.
Last Wednesday, a bill that provides for the first direct US military aid to Taiwan passed a key milestone in Congress. A few days earlier, Washington had announced the sale for 1.1 billion dollars of weapons to Taipei.
In early August, a visit to the island by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also provoked the fury of Beijing.
“We urge the US side to fully recognize the extreme importance and high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue. […] so as not to further harm China-US relations.”, Mao Ning said. Asked by AFP, a White House spokesman said on Sunday that the United States’ policy towards Taiwan does not“had not changed”.