Fantine GardinierAll materialsThe highest-ranking officer in the US military has doubled down on US support for Taiwan, saying it would seek to help the island defend its autonomy from mainland China.“The US is committed through the Taiwan Relations Act, and President Biden has said on many occasions recently that the United States will continue to support Taiwan,” Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday.“We will support them militarily,” he added. “We would try to help train them and equip them.”The US has long engaged in what it called “strategic ambiguity” about whether or not it would join a military operation against China if China attacked Taiwan – a strategy aimed at deterring both Chinese offensive actions as well as attempts by Taiwanese separatists to formally declare independence from China. However, several comments by Biden over the last two years have created serious doubts about that policy, with the president saying the US was bound to defend Taiwan in case of attack.Last year, Taiwan’s defense ministry revealed that more than 600 US troops had visited the island since 2019 for dozens of different training programs with their Taiwanese counterparts, while it was independently confirmed that US service members had been stationed on the island in small numbers since 2008.China regards Taiwan as a rebellious province destined to be reunited with the mainland, and has promoted a “one country, two systems” arrangement similar to that used to reincorporate Macau and Hong Kong, two other territories that are historically Chinese but were under foreign control for decades. The government on Taiwan is somewhat different, in that it is the surviving remnant of the Republic of China that governed all of China from 1912 until 1949, when the socialist revolution was victorious and founded the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.
WorldPentagon Publishes New National Defense Strategy Aimed at ‘Integrated Deterrence’ of China, Russia27 October, 19:57 GMTUntil 1979, the US military was the primary guarantor of Taiwan’s autonomy, until Washington switched its recognition of the legitimate Chinese government from Taipei to Beijing. After that, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act to govern its unofficial relationship with Taiwan, which has included funneling them weapons.As China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its amphibious and maritime forces in recent years to include amphibious assault ships and other capabilities, the US has pushed Taiwan to buy more torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and other standoff weapons. After Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine in February 2022 and the US and its allies began rushing small arms and then larger weapons to Ukraine, Washington also began pressuring Taipei to prepare for asymmetric warfare.
A Boeing test of a truck-mounted Harpoon Coastal Defense System in September 2000, which fires RMG-84 Harpoon anti-ship missilesA number of US officials also began declaring at that time that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was soon likely, because of Russia’s operation in Ukraine, while simultaneously claiming that Xi was hesitating because of the challenges Russian forces have encountered in Ukraine. Milley took up that line of criticism on Wednesday.“A lesson that comes out of Ukraine for China is that war on paper and real war are two different things. And what they have seen was a tremendous strategic miscalculation,” he said. “I think President Xi is taking a step back and … he’s evaluating the situation.”Milley added that an amphibious assault across the 80-mile-wide Taiwan strait is “really difficult,” adding that the PLA is “coming to realize that and they’re probably evaluating the situation and recalculating what they might do.”On Thursday, the Biden administration revealed that Biden would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. It is unclear what their talks will cover, but a US official said the two world leaders would not being issuing a joint statement afterward. Tensions have been high since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taipei in August, and the PLA held massive drills nearby in response.Biden said earlier this week that he hoped to discuss “red lines” with Xi and “determine whether or not they conflict with one another. And if they do, how to resolve and how to work it out.”