Lloyd Austin, US Defense Secretary, warned on October 22 that his country will not cut supplies to Taiwan, after President Joe Biden reaffirmed on Thursday his commitment to protect the islanders if they are attacked by China. Meanwhile, the foreign spokesman for the Asian giant demanded “caution” from the Americans “both in their words and in their actions” and added that “no one should underestimate the ability of China to safeguard its sovereignty.”
The uneasy international relationship between the United States and China continues to add episodes of tension that make attempts to preserve the status quo increasingly strained. This time, Taiwan is the reason why the two world superpowers exchange, for now, dialectical setbacks.
The rigidity between the two colossi was revived weeks ago, when Chinese aviators made incursions around Taiwanese airspace and by small US military groups that have been training local soldiers for a year, in addition to having ships sailing regularly.
The island is one of the sharpest issues in the conflict between China and the United States, as the former claim their sovereignty, while the latter are its main exporter of weapons.
In this escalation of tension, it was the Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, who spoke on Friday assuring that they will continue to provide supplies to Taiwan so that they are able to defend themselves, as they have done “during multiple administrations.”
In a press conference held within the framework of the Defense Ministers’ meeting in Brussels, carried out by NATO, he said that the North American nation “does not seek an open conflict around Taiwan.” However, he ruled out “speculating” about a possible reaction in the event that China attacked the island.
Austin commented that “nobody wants the problems in Taiwan to come to blows”, neither does President Joe Biden and assured that “there is no reason” for that to happen. The policy of “defending” Taiwan does not necessarily imply military predisposition, expert analysts indicate, but may be related to dissuading the parties from ending the conflict.
Finally, the Secretary of Defense added that there is “a growing interest” in allies and partners to work in the Indo-Pacific region and that it continues “to be free and open, that the rules-based international order remains in force there.”
Biden and the defense of Taiwan provoke the demand for “caution” by China
Secretary Austin spoke on Friday in a softer tone than that used by President Biden last Thursday, stating that his country will defend Taiwan against any attack from China.
During an event televised by the chain ‘CNN’, the president highlighted “the commitment” of his country to protect Taiwan militarily in case of hostilities against it. “China, Russia and the rest of the world know that the United States has the most powerful Army in history,” he said.
We demand that the United States be cautious both in its words and in its actions
This Friday, in response, from Beijing they asked the United States to stop “sending the wrong signals” and “seriously damaging” relations between the two nations. The one who came out to make public statements was Foreign Ministry spokesman Wan Wenbin. “We demand that the United States be cautious both in its words and in its actions regarding the Taiwanese issue,” he said.
He also warned that “no one should underestimate the determination and ability of the Chinese people to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“There is no possible concession on this issue,” he closed.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, avoided speculating “on a hypothetical situation” referring to US retaliation towards China in case the defense promise is fulfilled.
The Norwegian summarized that “it is important to reduce tensions in the area” and asked to resolve all “disputes, differences and disagreements” in that region by “political and diplomatic” means.