China-Taiwan Tensions Rise Days Into Biden Presidency

US vows military support for Taiwan

Tensions between the US and China for months have reflected in policy toward Taiwan, and newly inaugurated President Biden is facing his first challenge, as Taiwan reported 12 Chinese warplanes entering the corner of their airspace Saturday.

The US has responded by rushing the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier group into the South China Sea, and reiterating military support for Taiwan. The State Department dismissed the Chinese incursion as an attempt at intimidation.

Taiwan occupies a difficult place in US-China relations. Legally the US does not recognize Taiwan as independent, but is legally obliged to support them and provide them arms to prevent China from retaking them.

Every expression of support to Taiwan from the US is treated as a provocation from China, and every move by China virtually obliges the US to make some gaudy show of military support, which keeps the war of words raging for awhile.

Such turns of events keep happening, though both the US and China feign ignorance as to why the other side is behaving this way. After years of anti-China hostility by the Trump Administration, Biden will be struggling to manage the situation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.