When Xi and Biden speak at Apec, managing Taiwan will be high on the agenda

When Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Biden sit down in San Francisco in two weeks, the increasingly dangerous situation in Taiwan may be among the most contentious items on the agenda, analysts and former U.S. officials said Thursday.

After a long prelude that included detailed ethical discussions, negotiations on possible deliverables, high-level official “confidence-building” meetings and “will Xi, won’t Xi” are participatingAccording to speculation, the two leaders are set to meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum this month.

„The challenge for [US] „This is how the president will go to the meetings in San Francisco: if you look carefully at what the Chinese are saying about Biden and his Taiwan policy, they will not doubt his intentions,” said Rick Waters, managing director of China at the Eurasia Group. Training.

„When America holds its next presidential election, they doubt his ability to influence them in Congress or in his own party, or to change them no matter what happens in November 2024”.

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in their last face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit on November 14, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: A.P

In addition to next year’s US and Taiwanese elections, other risk variables are the often inflammatory US Congress; the possibility of unexpected collisions by ships or warplanes in the area around Taiwan; And potential moves by Taipei or Beijing could change the situation verbally or militarily, analysts said at a conference in New York sponsored by the China Project.

Analysts said both Washington and Beijing have a key interest in easing tensions. Most recently, the US has tried to convey that it does not support Taiwan independence through a statement by Laura Rosenberger, president of the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington’s de facto embassy.

Speaking in Taipei last month, Rosenberger He said maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is central to the island’s security and prosperity, and that U.S. policy will not change regardless of the outcome of Taiwan’s Jan. 13 election.

But the stakes are rising as the three governments battle their respective domestic pressure groups, and each worries that one of the other two might go first, creating a classic security dilemma.

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„So instead of reinforcing the status quo, they’re taking steps that are going to impress all of us,” said Amy Seliko, a former senior Commerce Department official in charge of China policy and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. .

„Each side of that triangle can point to actions by the other side of the triangle that undermine security and the status quo. I think that’s going to be hard to shut down,” said Celico, now a principal at Albright Stonebridge Group.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to bring it under its control — by force if necessary. Most countries, including the United States, do not recognize the self-governing island as an independent country.

But Washington’s policy is to support Taiwan’s military defense capability, global health, crime prevention and its expanded presence. Aviation Forums – Beijing opposes the objectives.

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China has started military exercises near Taiwan as a strong warning to separatist forces.

China has started military exercises near Taiwan as a strong warning to separatist forces.

Former U.S. officials said neither Gee nor Biden could personally report to California, which would clear up the other side’s entrenched suspicions. While Beijing sees a risk in Washington’s changing Taiwan policy, they said Washington was unfazed by any Xi deadline to launch an attack on Taiwan.

Xi’s party speeches and signals are clear and „things we should take seriously”, Waters said.

„They do not indicate that he is satisfied with the status quo.”

While China’s many domestic problems, including a faltering economy, make it unlikely that Xi will order an invasion anytime soon, it puts a premium on U.S. deterrence, Waters added.

Analysts see Beijing moving on several fronts.

In September, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council jointly provided A detailed document that includes 12 specific measures to make China’s Fujian province a „demonstration zone” for integrated economic development with Taiwan – is not comforting to many Taiwanese.

Beijing also increased tax and land-use inspections of Taiwan-owned Foxxcon’s operations in mainland China.

China too Named Powerful Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning to the high-level „Reunification” Council. Wang has emphasized efforts to counter Taiwan separatism — primarily associated with the ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party — and outside intervention, which could mean the United States.
Wang Huning at a meeting of the Chinese Council for Promoting Peaceful National Reunification in Beijing on September 11. Photo: Xinhua

„Beijing is pursuing a carrot-and-stick approach against Taiwan to drive the TPP out of office in the short term and pursue peaceful reunification with Taiwan in the long term,” said Nai Guo, a China and Northeast Asia adviser. Eurasia group.

„It’s the Fujian dossier, the appointment of Wang Huning, the news of the investigation into Foxconn’s activities on the mainland, and the escalation of military coercion against Taiwan — all evident despite the absence of provocative political events in Taiwan in the past few months.”

Biden has said four times that the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, breaking with Washington’s official policy of „strategic ambiguity” and neither confirming nor denying that it would respond militarily.

But it’s less inflammatory than it sounds, Waters said, because Chinese military planners already think the Pentagon will resist a Chinese attack.

The global cost of any military incursion by the Rhodium Group is becoming increasingly clear Assessments Given Northeast Asia’s strategic shipping lanes, global trade potential and semiconductor manufacturing potential, US$3 trillion is a figure some say is too low.
The Taiwanese destroyer Keelung is tracking the PLA aircraft carrier Shandong near the Taiwan Strait in September. Photo: Taiwan Ministry of National Defense via AP

As other countries and regions realized the stakes, they participated in US-led „freedom of navigation” expeditions in the South China Sea and signed the Group of 7 Statements expressing their concerns.

„You see more and more countries talking about their interests in peace and stability,” Waters said. „Diplomatic deterrence, military deterrence, then pledges and private channels – these are the three main parts of the overall deterrence framework.”

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