Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday claimed that China is looking to take Taiwan “on a much faster timeline” and accused Beijing of wanting to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.
Blinken didn’t provide evidence for the claim but insisted that there’s “been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years.”
There has been an increase in China’s military activity around Taiwan, but that came in direct response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of Congress visiting the island.
Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated on Sunday Beijing’s policy of seeking “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan but not ruling the use of force as an option. Xi warned against “outside interference” over the issue, and other Chinese officials have explicitly warned that more US support for Taipei’s “independence forces” could lead to war.
While Blinken accused China of changing its approach to Taiwan, it’s clear that the US has changed its policy toward the island in recent years and now views Taipei as an opportunity to counter Beijing. Last year, Raymond Greene, who was serving as the deputy director of the US de facto embassy in Taiwan at the time, explained how the US approach had changed.
“The United States no longer sees Taiwan as a ‘problem’ in our relations with China, we see it as an opportunity to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Greene said.
Another significant change has been the rhetoric coming from President Biden, who has said that the US would defend Taiwan if it’s attacked by China, breaking from the decades-old policy of strategic ambiguity. Congress is also working on legislation that would give Taiwan $10 billion in military aid, assistance that Beijing will view as a major provocation.