The impending concern about Taiwan independence has added another complexity for Pres. Biden as it means facing one more foreign policy predicament within the election year commotion.
In a recent high-stakes meeting in San Francisco, President Xi Jinping revealed to Pres. Joe Biden’s intent for reunification with Taiwan, challenging previous timelines and introducing an unsettling dimension to diplomatic relations.
The encounter, designed to ease tensions between the two nations, took a serious turn as Xi preferred a peaceful annexation of Taiwan, a region with historical ties to the US since 1979.
NBC News reported on Wednesday that Xi, while not ruling out the use of force, emphasized his commitment to a non-violent reunification process.
Reunification or annexation plans?
During the meeting, Xi contradicted previous expectations regarding China’s timeline for taking Taiwan, challenging estimates of 2025 or 2027.
Although the Chinese leader refrained from specifying a new timeframe, CIA Director William Burns indicated that intelligence suggested military preparations for a potential takeover by 2027.
With Taiwan’s presidential election scheduled for January 13, the island nation faces a pivotal moment as incumbent President Tsai Ing-Wen reaches her term limit, making way for Vice President Lai Ching-te to vie for the presidency.
Is an armed resistance imminent?
If China were to pursue annexation, it would likely confront resistance with American-made weapons. The US has already brokered the sale of 29 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) missile launchers to Taiwan, with delivery anticipated by 2026.
Despite Xi’s vocal aspirations for Taiwan, US officials caution that a military conflict could jeopardize China’s goal of doubling its economy by 2035.
Is Taiwan ready?
Ex-Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-min emphasized that Taiwan has a long way to go before being adequately prepared. He argued that the key to Taiwan’s defense extends beyond hardware but the indomitable will to protect itself.
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