“United States ready to defend Taiwan if it is attacked”, “There is no room for compromise on Taiwan.” The question and answer between Joe Biden and the Beijing Foreign Ministry is one of those without misunderstandings: and, one might say, finally. The American president made an almost unprecedented statement for clarity, surpassing the usual standard of strategic ambiguity that Washington prefers on the Taiwanese question: he did so because he believes that current circumstances now require it, that is, to respond to the growing military provocations. ordered by Xi Jinping, who in the past few weeks has sent his jets 150 times to the Taipei aerial identification zone. And if now there are no more doubts about American intentions, Beijing wanted to answer equally clearly: reunification is a priority for us and it will have to happen anyway and we consider Biden’s as nothing more than interference in an internal Chinese question.
Wall to wall, then. Does it mean the start of a new cold war between the United States and China? «I don’t want a cold war with China, Biden clarified speaking to CNN -. I want Beijing to understand that we will not step back. The United States has made a sacred commitment with regard to the defense of NATO allies in Canada and Europe, and the same goes for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ”. Taiwan with which, it should be remembered, Washington has no longer official relations since 1979, having connected them with Beijing, but with which it maintains close ties and a commitment to military defense until yesterday only implicit, but since yesterday unequivocal. A commitment that is part of a broader strategy to contain Chinese aggression, made visible by the recent creation of a double alliance in the crucial region of the Indo-Pacific: the “Quad” (USA, Japan, India and Australia) and the «Aukus» (USA, Australia and Great Britain).
Biden, during his speech at CNN, said he was not worried about a possible conflict with Beijing (“Our armed forces are the most powerful in history”), but rather warned China but also Russia, which has now entered the Chinese orbit as a “junior partner” and which supports its “national goal” of conquering Taiwan, to avoid dangerous escalation: “We would have to worry if these countries were involved in activities that put them in a position where they could make a grave mistake ”. It is a fact that the Taiwan issue has recently become the worst point of friction in relations between Washington and Beijing. And this is because the very rapid development of Chinese military capabilities now makes an attack on the nationalist island plausible, which until a few years ago was impossible. For the United States, Taiwan represents from a strategic point of view a fundamental piece of the “first chain of islands” which effectively prevents the increasingly powerful Chinese navy from free access to the Pacific dominated by the States; but it is also a bulwark of democracy and Western values that cannot be abandoned to the aggression of the Chinese rival, on pain of a ruinous crisis of credibility, especially among the Japanese and Korean allies, as well as the main world producer of those microchips without which the Western industry would remain paralyzed. For Xi Jinping, on the other hand, who wants to go down in history as the leader who put an end to the “century of humiliations” imposed by the West on his country, the mere existence of a democratic “other China” on its shores represents an intolerable outrage. : hence the inflexible will to annex Taiwan, even by force.