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What is Behind U.S. Support for Taiwan?

,El American

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During the controversial presidency of Richard Nixon, and in the midst of the Cold War, the United States underwent a series of economic and diplomatic changes in 1971 that had worldwide repercussions. The change in the direct convertibility of the dollar into gold and the sadly famous Resolution 2758 of the United Nations General Assembly, which meant the terrible incorporation of communist China as the “legitimate representative of China to the United Nations,” as Taiwan’s representatives were expelled from the body, a seat they legally occupied before the organization.

Since then, paradoxically, free, capitalist, and democratic China —Taiwan— was not only excluded from the international system (that is, from almost all the institutions that directly and indirectly make up the international system of today’s world) but what is worse, it has been under the threat of losing its independence.

Historically all the presidents of communist China from Mao to Xi Jinping have promised the “unification of China.” The big difference today is that the current Chinese president for the first time has the economic and military capacity to be able to achieve this unification by force. This explains the growing number of episodes of tension between the two peoples, first due to Beijing’s own policy, which is in the midst of a phase of imperialist expansion, first with Macao, then with Hong Kong and everything indicates that the next on Xi Jinping’s list is Taiwan.

In this vein, Peruvian journalist Jaime Bayly stated in his television program on Mega TV: “China is a very dangerous threat and every day it is a more worrying threat. China, at any moment, is going to strike in Taiwan and Taiwan is going to use its military forces to defend itself (…) This is the great danger that has incubated on the coasts of China, but Biden is sending a message to the Southeast Asian Alliance (…) Biden ignores the looming danger: the Chinese boot that has already crushed Hong Kong, is going to crush Taiwan.”

But not everything looks so negative in the outlook for the brave and heroic Taiwanese. Contrary to Bayly’s gloomy projection, President Joe Biden has maintained Donald Trump’s policy towards Taiwan. The evidence of this is when on CNN Forum, Anderson Coper twice asked the president if the U.S. would protect Taiwan from a possible attack by China, to which he replied “Yes, we have a commitment to do so.” Thus, he made it clear that the United States is committed to defend Taiwan against a possible attack by the Chinese communist empire.

In the same vein, days later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the following regarding the crucial Taiwanese situation: “We encourage all UN member states to join us in supporting Taiwan’s strong and definitive participation in the entire UN system and the international community (…) Taiwan is a crucial partner of the United States and a democratic success story”, and later went on to say: “Taiwan’s exclusion undermines the important work of the UN and its agencies”.

The recent reiteration of U.S. defense of Taiwan in the face of potential Chinese aggression, makes evident the ambivalence existing in the White House regarding this issue, since Washington formally has diplomatic relations with communist China and not with Taiwan.

However, it has been firm not only in maintaining trade ties, but also with this solid political support in the face of threats from Beijing and finally to promote the necessary support for the necessary, fair and formal inclusion of Taiwan in the international system, so as to ensure the peaceful coexistence of peoples, the survival of a model democracy such as Taiwan’s and its contributions to the world today in crucial areas such as health, air traffic or civil aviation and combating transnational organized crime.

Nahem Reyes is a PhD in history from the Andrés Bello Catholix University and associate member of the American Studies Center of the Central University of Venezuela. // Nahem Reyes es doctor en Historia de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello y miembro asociado del Centro de Estudios de América de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

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