The US is concerned that China is flirting with the idea of seizing control of Taiwan as President Xi Jinping becomes more willing to take risks to boost his legacy.
“China seems to be moving from a time when they are satisfied with the status quo about Taiwan to a time when they are more impatient and more willing to test the borders and flirt with the idea of unification,” a senior US official told the US. The Washington City Times.
The official said the Biden government had reached the conclusion after assessing Chinese behavior over the past two months.
“As we prepare for a period when Xi Jinping is likely to enter his third term, there is concern that he sees the keystone’s progress on Taiwan as important to his legitimacy and legacy,” the official added. “It seems he is willing to take more risks.”
Twenty Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Friday, marking the largest raid. It came a day after the US and Taiwan agreed to strengthen cooperation between their coast guards.
The rising alarm in the Biden administration is in line with a warning from Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the US Indo-Pacific command, who said senators could take military action in China “within the next six years.”
Admiral John Aquilino, who will succeed Davidson, told Congress this week that there was a wide variety of predictions, but “my opinion is that this problem is much closer to us than most think.”
Aquilino said China had taken other “aggressive actions,” including clashes with India at their border that suggested it was encouraged.
“We’ve seen things that I don’t think we expected,” Aquilino told the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
“That’s why I keep talking about a sense of urgency. We should be prepared today. ”
Kurt Campbell, the top White House official in Asia, told the The Washington City Times that while China was acting increasingly aggressively in many areas, it was the most assertive in its approach to Taiwan.
“We’ve seen China become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea. Economic coercion against Australia, diplomacy of wolf fighters in Europe and the tensions at the border with India,” he said.
“But nowhere have we seen more persistent and determined activities than the military, diplomatic and other activities targeting Taiwan.”
The The Washington City Times reported in January that Chinese fighter jets and bombers were simulating missile strikes on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt three days after Joe Biden was inaugurated as US president.
The simulation took place as Chinese fighter jets flew in and out of Taiwan’s air defense zone for two days, just days after Biden was sworn in, in what was the largest Chinese exercise in the area until the break-in on Friday. A US defense official said the incident was not the first time China had simulated attacks on US ships.
Taiwanese national security officials say they are concerned that the next congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2022 – the key to reaffirming Xi’s expanded position as a third term Chinese leader – and the 2027 centenary of the establishment of the People’s Liberation Army could be pointing out Xi feels compelled to make a move to Taiwan.
But in general, growing concerns from the US are not echoed so loudly in Taipei. A senior Taiwan official said China had increased its military pressure on Taiwan, but there was no sign of an imminent attack.
Separately, Alexander Huang, a former vice chair of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Chinese cabinet-level policy body of Taiwan, said there was a “crazy perception gap” that was “dangerous.”
The US’s growing concern about Taiwan is because US-China relations are showing no signs of improvement. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser, held a meeting in Alaska last week with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy, and Wang Yi, secretary of state, which began an extraordinary public row.
In his opening address, Blinken said the US would raise private concerns on issues that “threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” including Chinese actions against Taiwan. Yang fired back by accusing the US and promising that China would “take firm action in response” to any interference with Taiwan.
US officials said they had more cordial discussions in private after the public “theatrics.” Several people familiar with the talks said the US team disapproved of China’s attempts to ‘reset’ the relationship by creating strategic dialogues, which was one of the Chinese goals for the first high-level meeting under Biden’s administration. .
Towards the end of the meeting in Alaska, Yang told Blinken and Sullivan that he hoped to welcome them to Beijing for more discussions. According to people familiar with the situation, Blinken leaned across the table and said “thank you”, sparking a discussion on the Chinese side about whether the US accepted the invitation.
After the Chinese had consulted for some time, Yang asked Blinken what he meant by “thank you” and whether his response meant that the US negotiators were ready to hold follow-up talks in Beijing.
“Thank you means thank you”, Blinken replied, and signaled to Yang and Wang that the answer was “No” for the time being.
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