China Continues Sabre-Rattling over Taiwan, and the U.S. Mustn’t Lose Focus

The never-ending saber-rattling by China over Taiwan demonstrates how high the stakes are for the United States. 

Our military and political leadership mustn’t lose sight of the enormous strategic threat China represents. Consider the provocative Chinese military exercises off Taiwan on Thursday, an explicit “punishment” (Beijing used that very word!) for “separatist acts.”

Those acts included a speech by Lai Chint-te, the newly inaugurated Taiwanese leader (and Lai’s actual election).

Lai is a committed backer of Taiwan’s autonomy and dared to speak out.

China hit back hard.

Why does it feel it has the right to do so and claim, as its government did, that the exercises are “a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces,” i.e., America?

For a similar reason, its consulate general in New York felt free to release a statement the same day saying that if the United States “truly cares about cross-Strait peace and stability and wants the world to be safe and prosperous, it should uphold the one-China principle and support China’s reunification.”

China sees expansive room to maneuver because President Joe Biden is fumbling and cowardly in the face of China’s aggressive power projection. 

Let’s take a look at Joe Biden’s April phone meeting with President of China Xi Jinping. 

President Biden made the typical noises about “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

However, Xi implicitly threatened military action if the United States didn’t tread carefully. 

The president had reason to feel comfortable doing so. Since Joe came into office, the Biden administration has taken no action that has gotten Beijing to stop its aggressive practices. 

Do you recall the spy balloon debacle of 2023?

The White House allowed a Chinese military surveillance device to float slowly across the country and observe sensitive sites and then planned to lie to the American public about it (possibly hoping Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned-then-postponed visit to China would go ahead on schedule and smoothly).

Beijing noted Joe Biden’s cut-and-run exit from Afghanistan, his potentially motivated abandonment of the U.S.’s close ally in the Middle East—Israel- and the president’s wavering commitment to Ukraine.

Xi has also watched the pathetic U.S. response to Iran’s provocations. Our weakness has only brought about a worsening situation for Taiwan.

The Chinese president sees there isn’t a cost in cozying up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, threatening Taiwan, and moving forward to dominate Chinese water off the coast — as well as the region itself.

March saw the violation of Taiwanese territory by China with the deliberate entry of Chinese coast guard boats into the waters only weeks before Biden’s phone call with Xi.

Reportedly, Beijing sent four spy balloons over Taiwan in January before the elections that put Lai in power.

Xi made his vision clear at his end-of-year December address, promising China’s “complete reunification” of Taiwan and China. Only a few days prior, he had made a similar promise in a speech on the 130th anniversary of Mao’s birth.

The trajectory is apparent and should set off alarm bells in the Pentagon, White House, and other corridors of power. 

Indeed, the claim by China that “reunification” — Taiwan’s conquest — will make the world a safer place is a familiar echo of Putin’s ugly designs on Ukraine.

Joe Biden has already failed that test. We hope and pray he finds the backbone and courage to pass this one, but we won’t hold our breath.