The Biden Administration’s Package to Taiwan – What Will China Do?
US President Joe Biden (Left), Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (Middle), Chinese President Xi Jinping (Right), via Slate
The week of September 10th – September 16th, the Biden Administration told Congress that it intends to withhold $85 million originally meant for security assistance in Egypt. Instead, most of those funds will be sent to improve the defenses of Taiwan. This is the second of two occasions where the Biden Administration sent finances to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Financing program. The first of these two occasions was an original plan of $80 million worth of aid in the form of military equipment.
China’s reaction to this financial aid was, without a doubt, negative. China stated that the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds were in violation of the “One China” policy, which the U.S. had originally recognized. Back in the United States Senate, Senator Roger Wicker stated that the money given to Taiwan was “a pittance compared to Taiwan’s enormous needs for self-defense” against the threat from China. Wicker also acknowledged the transfer of funds from Egypt, calling it “especially counterproductive since Egypt has proven receptive to this administration’s human rights concerns.”
At the Chinese Embassy in Washington, spokesperson Liu Pengyu said that the military equipment delivered by the U.S. would “severely jeopardize China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and that they should “immediately revoke” the decision to approve the arms sale. This information was given after the Biden Administration formally notified Congress of the plan. The idea is awaiting Congressional authorization, but it is determined that the plan will most likely be approved.
This deal is considered the largest for Taiwan under the Biden Administration according to Drew Thompson, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore. Though other deals- such as those from the Trump Administration- were considered financially larger, the plan proposed by the Biden Administration reinforces that Taiwan wants to have “a larger supply of war reserve munitions on hand in advance of a conflict.”
China believes the United States is interfering with internal affairs between them and Taiwan, though technically the Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan in its time as the country’s ruling party. Despite this, China including Liu Pengyu deeply believe that the United States and the Biden Administration should acknowledge the “One China” principle. This situation is bound to conclude eventually, but every day it persists that the relationship between the United States and China deteriorates.
The United States' decision to provide financial assistance to Taiwan while facing China's disapproval is a complex and delicate matter. This decision underscores Washington’s commitment to supporting its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Despite Taipei’s contentious relationship with the Chinese government, Taiwan has proven itself as a robust and democratic society deserving of international support. It's essential for the U.S. to uphold their commitment of promoting democracy and regional stability.
China's opposition to such aid is not surprising, given its longstanding claims over Taiwan as a part of its territory. However, the United States has maintained a long-standing policy of unofficial support for Taiwan, and providing financial aid is in line with this policy. Balancing the need to support democratic values and regional stability with the desire to avoid exacerbating tensions with China is undoubtedly challenging. Still, it is crucial that the U.S. continues to support Taiwan, while also engaging in diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions and promote peaceful dialogue in the region. It's a delicate balancing act, but one that is essential for maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.