Monday, November 14, 2022, United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Bali, Indonesia. This was the first time the leaders sat down in person since Biden’s inauguration.
Following this meeting, President Biden remarked that he “does not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan.” Yet he did raise objections to aggressive actions the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has directed toward the neighboring island nation. Concerns were also raised about PRC activities and practices in Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang, particularly those related to human rights.
While the United Nations does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, the United States supports the self-defense of the province under the Taiwan Relations Act. This agreement gives America authority to resist any coercion or aggressive action against the ambiguous area.
In his comments on Monday, President Biden referenced this agreement. “And I made it clear that our policy on Taiwan has not changed at all. It’s the same exact position we’ve had.”
The United States has announced it will not condone any changes to the current status quo between China and Taiwan. Aggression could not only disrupt the fragile stability in the Taiwan Strait but impact global trade. While China is known as a global economic powerhouse, its tiny neighbor has its own valuable exports.
Specifically, Taiwan’s top three exports include electrical equipment (semiconductors), machinery (including computers, and plastics. In return, the United States is the island’s top supplier of agricultural goods.
One can easily see the consequences of a trade disruption between these two entities alone. The gravity is certainly not lost on the White House, as President Biden has emphasized the need “to see cross-trade issues peacefully resolved.”
The questions about America’s stance likely stem from events that took place approximately two months ago. In September, the United States Congress reaffirmed support for Taiwan through increased trade and defense ties. This activity also designated Taiwan as a formidable ally, despite not being a NATO member.