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29may2022
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Is the US stepping up its support for Taiwan?

According to D.Sacks

Standing next to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida the other day, President Biden shattered forty years of strategic uncertainty by signaling that he would use military force to defend Taiwan. While administration officials say there is no change in US policy, President Biden's comments are significant and represent a long overdue shift.

First, it is important to note that while President Biden has argued that the United States has an obligation to stand up for Taiwan, this is not the case. Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA), the United States pledged to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons and retain the ability to assist Taiwan, while the President must inform Congress of any threat in this area. However, the TRA does not oblige the United States to directly intervene in hostilities. Instead, for four decades, Washington has pursued a policy of "strategic ambiguity," leaving the question of whether it will defend Taiwan unanswered. The logic behind the strategic ambiguity is that China cannot be sure that the United States will not defend Taiwan, and Taiwan cannot be sure that the United States will defend it, thus simultaneously keeping China from attacking. and Taiwan from China's provocation.

Some may argue that President Biden simply misspoke, not realizing the significance of what he was saying. However, these statements risk sowing confusion among US allies and partners. If China uses force against Taiwan, it will be up to the President of the United States to decide whether or not to stand up for Taiwan.

 

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