Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of the G20 conference in Rome over the weekend and “raised concerns” over a number of areas, including Taiwan.
Tensions have been soaring between the US and China around Taiwan as Washington is increasing its military activity in the region and is taking more steps to boost ties with Taipei.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the meeting that Wang blamed the US for the deteriorating relations. Wang also said he wants to maintain regular communication with Blinken to ease tensions and avoid missteps.
The meeting came a few weeks after President Biden said during a CNN town hall that the US has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. The comment suggested the US was altering its policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which means Washington is vague about whether or not it would intervene to defend Taiwan. But US officials quickly clarified that there is no change in policy, something Blinken reiterated in an interview Sunday.
“There is no change in our policy. We’ve had a longstanding commitment … pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act to make sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself, and we stand by that,” Blinken said
The Taiwan Relations Act was passed in 1979 and outlined US relations with Taipei. The legislation does not guarantee that the US would defend Taiwan, but it does authorize weapons sales to the island.
While there has been no official change in policy, it’s clear that the US is approaching the Taiwan situation much differently than it has over the previous decades. Since the Trump administration, Washington has been increasing informal diplomatic ties with Taipei. Last week, Blinken called on UN member states to support Taiwan’s “robust” participation in the UN system, which drew a rebuke from Beijing.
Hawks in Washington are looking to change the “strategic ambiguity” policy. Some Republicans and Democrats in Congress even want to give President Biden war powers to fight China if it moves to take Taiwan.