China: No Room for Compromise or Concessions on Taiwan

US and China are unwilling to reach understanding on island

President Biden set out his preparedness to go to war to defend Taiwan from China, while ruling out any concessions to China that might open up a route to avoid such a war.

Chinese officials are following suit, similarly announcing that there is “no room” for any compromise or concession on Taiwan in their policy. Once again, China isn’t laying out a path to avoid a military confrontation.

This is a dangerous position. China’s position is that Taiwan is part of China, and they will get it back. They see the US as driving efforts to keep them from recovering the island. The US, by contrast, doesn’t recognize Taiwan at all, but has a policy of arming the island to resist China, and President Biden now reiterates his willingness to go to war to keep it in this position of nominal independence.

The US and China have managed to avoid war over Taiwan since the Chinese Civil War. The US has sought to avoid confrontation  with strategic ambiguity, while China both reiterated its claims to the island, and a willingness to be patient on resolving the matter.

As both sides double-down on the matter, the timing couldn’t be worse for a war. Taiwan’s economy is booming, and the dependence of the global economy on Taiwan-made semiconductors means any war threatening that supply would be a disaster for participants, and everyone else..

That makes this a dangerous situation, where mutual self-interest should be pushing everyone away from war, while both the US and China are so determined to look unyielding that they’re going to see how close to the breaking point they can get.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.