0129: Tension in Taiwan Strait, Thomas-Greenfield’s Comments on Taiwan

Biden Administration Urges China to Cease Military Pressure against Taiwan

On Saturday, the Department of State called on China to stop its ongoing military coercion toward Taiwan. On the same day, a U.S. aircraft carrier group entered the contested South China Sea, suggesting the US-China military rivalry of the Trump’s era would continue into Biden’s tenure.

After an unusual large fleet of 13 Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on January 23, the State Department issued a statement urging China to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.

The statement showed the Biden administration’s intentions to support Taiwan’s democracy and safety. “We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan,” it read. “The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” it pledged, adding that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is “rock-solid.”

Amid tension in the Taiwan Strait, the USS Theodore Roosevelt strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday via the Bashi Channel – between the Philippines and Taiwan – to promote freedom of the seas and reassure allies and partners. It was the first such operation since Biden’s inauguration.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the Biden administration for its support for Taiwan’s peace and stability. However, China responded by sending 15 military airplanes into Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on January 24, the highest number observed in a single day so far this year.

Sources: Taipei Times, Japan Times, Focus Taiwan

U.S. Must Help Taiwan to Counter China’s Aggression: Biden’s Pick for U.N. Envoy

The United States must help Taiwan push back against Chinese efforts to compromise its security, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday. 

Speaking at her confirmation hearing in the Senate, Thomas-Greenfield said Taiwan is “one of the strongest democracies in the [Indo-Pacific] region,” and the U.S. needs to “support” and “stand by them” as a fellow democracy. Specifically, she said, the U.S. must “provide [Taiwan] with the security they need to push [back] against any efforts by the Chinese to compromise their security.”

Thomas-Greenfield described China as a “strategic adversary” that threatens the U.S.’s security, values, and way of life. China is also “a threat to their neighbors” and “a threat across the globe,” she added. She also reaffirmed the importance of U.S. leadership in international institutions like the United Nations. China is working across the U.N. system to “drive an authoritarian agenda” and exercise a “malign influence” on multilateral bodies such as the WHO, she warned.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed thanks for Thomas-Greenfield’s support for Taiwan, saying that it was looking forward to working with the Biden administration to continue strengthening US-Taiwan relations.

Sources: Focus Taiwan, Taipei Times