Biden White House says China shouldn’t ‘react harshly’ to Taiwan leader’s visit to U.S.

White House Says China Should Not be Upset by Taiwanese President’s Visit to US

The White House has suggested that Chinese officials should not be upset by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States this week. John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications for President Joe Biden’s National Security Council, made the statement during a press briefing on Wednesday, April 28.

Kirby’s comments came after Beijing threatened retaliation if U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with President Tsai. McCarthy told the Asian American Chamber of Commerce in Houston earlier this month that he would like to visit Taiwan and meet with its president.

The Chinese government, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to use force to bring it under its control if necessary, warned against any official U.S.–Taiwan interactions. Beijing sees them as undermining its sovereignty.

“There’s no reason for China to react harshly,” Kirby said during the press briefing. He added that the U.S. was pursuing its longstanding one-China policy and had established unofficial ties with Taiwan in keeping with that policy.

The White House statement follows a series of recent moves that signal a tougher U.S. stance towards China. On April 21, the U.S. Senate passed a bill, the Strategic Competition Act, which seeks to boost U.S. competitiveness with China in technological fields and promote human rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

On the same day, the U.S. Department of Defense highlighted its ongoing support for Taiwan and committed to its defence in its annual report to Congress on Chinese military power.

Beijing has reacted to these actions with anger and alarm. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of interfering in China’s internal affairs and urged the U.S. to stop “playing with fire”.

The spokesperson also warned that the U.S. Senate should not underestimate China’s resolve to defend its sovereignty and security interests.

The tension between China and Taiwan is a longstanding issue that dates back to the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s. After losing the war, the defeated Nationalists retreated to Taiwan, with the Communists taking control of mainland China. Since then, Beijing has maintained that Taiwan is an integral part of China and has sought to assert its control over it.

In response, Taiwan has pursued a policy of maintaining its independence and establishing itself as a separate entity from China. It has done so with considerable success, becoming a prosperous and democratic country with a high standard of living.

However, its claims to sovereignty have put it at odds with Beijing, which has been increasingly assertive in its policies towards Taiwan in recent years.

The United States has also been involved in the issue, as it has maintained close ties with Taiwan since the end of World War II. This relationship has been complicated by the U.S.’s one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China, but also acknowledges Taiwan as an economic and political entity.

Under President Biden, the U.S. has shown a willingness to take a tougher stance towards China, particularly in relation to issues such as human rights, trade and technology.

The U.S. has also shown a commitment to its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan. In his address to Congress on April 28, President Biden referred to Taiwan as a “staunch democracy and a critical economic and security partner”.

However, the U.S.’s tough stance also carries risks, particularly if it inflames tensions with China and creates the possibility of military conflict.

For its part, China has stated that it will not tolerate any attempts to undermine its sovereignty over Taiwan, and has warned that it is prepared to use force to defend its interests.

As the U.S. and China continue to navigate this complex and sensitive issue, it remains to be seen how tensions will be resolved, and what impact they will have on the broader relationship between the two countries.


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