In an interview published by CBS, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan against “an unprecedented attack.” Furthermore, the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, Karl Thomas, affirmed that the international community would also intervene in the event of a possible attack. In addition, the U.S. Air Force Secretary commented that China would be making a serious mistake if it invaded Taiwan and that the United States “is the most powerful military in the world,” and “will remain the most powerful military in the world.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Karl Thomas said that the Chinese military “have a very large navy, and if they want to intimidate and put ships around Taiwan, they can do that.” The vice admiral added that he could not effectively state whether China would attack Taiwan or if it would do any blockade on its shores. However, his job as a commander is to be ready for any possible scenario.
“Obviously, if they do something that’s not kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic,” he said, meaning it’s not an all-out attack involving lethal force, “then that allows the international community to weigh in and work together on how we’re going to resolve that challenge.”
Thomas noted that the Chinese military is growing and advancing rapidly; it is one of the largest militaries in the world and is modernizing its fleet of ships because it has more shipyards than the United States. However, the Chinese military faces significant difficulties in completing any military operation that deploys all of the army’s forces. In addition, senior Chinese commanders in the various forces suffer from a lack of training. It is a serious flaw that would not be remedied by a few months of military exercises alone. Nevertheless, even with these flaws, the commander indicates that the People’s Liberation Army is making rapid progress, “they are more united than a year ago, three years ago, five years ago,” he added.
In this regard, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III told a recent conference organized by the Air, Space & Cyber Forces Association that China “would be making a grave mistake if it decides to invade Taiwan.”
Kendall remarked that Chinese leaders should look at what happened with Russia and its attempt to invade Ukraine to warn why an attack on Taiwan would not be easy and would have consequences that would be difficult to reverse.
According to the Air Force secretary, China is modernizing its military. The U.S. should move faster, not fall behind and act because much of that modernization occurred during the Obama era. For example, the U.S., under Obama, sold weaponry and military equipment to the communist Chinese regime.
“There is no sign of an imminent attack on Taiwan, according to Kendall, “I think the Taiwanese people would fight back, and I think we would help them in some way,” he added.
“My job [and] our job in the Air Force certainly is to make our forces as capable and prepared as possible at any time,” Kendall said. “I see the risk … increasing over time as China modernizes.”
Following President Joe Biden’s comment that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if China attacked, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told a press briefing on September 20 that the U.S. maintains the same foreign policy on Taiwan and that the president “hasn’t changed that.”
“Well, as the president said in his interview on ’60 Minutes,’ we continue to support the one-China policy. We continue to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo. And we continue to stand for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.'”
Sullivan added, “The president has reiterated those core commitments every time he has discussed Taiwan, including in this interview, where he specifically, emphatically, and unequivocally reinforced and reiterated the one-China policy.”
The U.S. continues to pursue a one-China policy and does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign and independent nation. However, it reiterates that it will react if China initiates an attack on the island.
Several previous administrations maintained this “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan. However, during the Trump era, the ruling administration made several trade deals, including multi-billion dollar arms sales, and marked a path of rapprochement with the island nation.
For these reasons, when Biden took office as president, the Chinese communist regime called on him to reverse “Trump’s dangerous practice” of supporting Taiwan.
Senate Committee approves bill to support Taiwan
Last Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill to provide the island nation with military equipment and would also empower Taiwan’s president to sanction Chinese institutions and officials. In addition, Washington would name Taiwan a “major non-NATO ally.”
The motion was sent to the Senate for approval. In this regard, Senator Bob Menendez, co-sponsor of the bill, said, “war with China is not being sought.” However, some White House officials commented that this bill could threaten China-U.S. relations, precisely the “one China” policy.
Senators and congressmen criticize Biden’s ambiguity on Taiwan
Sen. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said in an interview with Fox News, “I’m very concerned. Because who is it then? And what’s more troubling, not just for the United States, but what does it say to the rest of the nations? He can’t send a clear message. This is not the first time he’s done that. Almost every time [Biden] has talked about China and Taiwan, the White House had to retract it.”
Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat, said earlier this year at a seminar held by a U.S. think tank, the Hudson Institute, “I think our current policy of strategic ambiguity is, it’s time to change it. I think we have to bring strategic clarity. We have to be very clear and unequivocal and say that the United States will react to maintain the status quo.”
“With our current presence, with our current legal and policy statements of ambiguity, I think the Chinese see this as a very clear opportunity where they can act and they are building a fleet to do that,” Luria said.