by WorldTribune Staff, July 29, 2022
Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping on Thursday warned Joe Biden not to “play with fire” by defying the communist regime in Beijing on the Taiwan issue.
In what officials say was a two-hour and 17 minute phone call, Xi told Biden that “China firmly opposes separatist moves toward ‘Taiwan independence’ and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces in whatever form.”
Team Biden put out a boiler plate and sleep-inducing explanation of what the world’s top two leaders discussed that included “a range of issues important to the bilateral relationship and other regional and global issues.” Xi and Biden “tasked their teams to continue following up on today’s conversation, in particular to address climate change and health security,” the White House said.
“The public opinion cannot be defied,” Xi was quoted as saying. “Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this.”
Meanwhile, senior defense officials from Japan visited Taiwan’s president in a demonstration of support and resolve that sent a powerful signal to Beijing.
The visit was validation for recently-assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s populist appeal in support of Taiwan and a rearmed Japanese military. Abe’s successor in the ruling Liberal Democrat Party coalition government was more accommodating to the relatively pr0-China policy of the Biden Administration which is represented in Tokyo by Amb. Rahm Emanuel.
Xi has been adamant in opposition to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan next month. In what many are calling a capitulation to China, Biden has publicly advised Pelosi not to go through with the visit.
Related:Risk analysis: Biden bows to China on House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, July 28, 2022
The Chinese Communist Party has threatened to respond harshly if Pelosi visits the island nation, which mainland China believes rightfully belongs to the CCP.
China’s government warned last week that it would take “forceful measures” if Pelosi visited Taiwan.
The White House statement said that, on Taiwan, Biden “underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Japan said it dispatched a high-level delegation to Taiwan to discuss ways to prepare for a possible conflict as Beijing intensifies its threats to invade the island nation.
“To maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region … we need to think ahead about what kind of situation would happen,” former Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at her office in Taipei on Thursday. “And after it happens, we should think about what agreements or laws or military actions should be employed to contain that situation.”
Related: China celebrated his assassination, but Abe’s legacy surged in Japan elections, July 10, 2022
Ishiba and another former defense minister, Yasukazu Hamada were leading a cross-party Japanese delegation that also included former deputy defense chief Akihisa Nakashima and Takayuki Shimizu, a member of the upper house, for a four-day visit that began on Wednesday.
“Safeguarding Taiwan is not just about safeguarding its sovereignty. It is also about regional security as Taiwan is situated in the first island chain – a key defense line in the region,” Tsai said.
The communist government in Beijing has repeatedly vowed to take control of Taiwan, by force if necessary, and it reacts furiously to anyone treating Taiwan as an independent state.
Even though China’s military posture in the region has become much more aggressive, Biden administration and Taiwanese officials have stated they don’t believe China will move to invade Taiwan this year.
Taiwan’s top intelligence official, Chen Ming-tong, said in March that it was “highly unlikely” China would move this year.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said last month that strength of the western response to the Russian invasion serves as a “powerful deterrent” to a potential Chinese assault on Taiwan.
CIA Director Bill Burns said last week that no attack is expected immediately but the risks “become higher, it seems to us, the further into this decade that you get.”
Burns added that it is not just Taiwan that is learning from the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “I suspect the lesson that the Chinese leadership and military are drawing is that you’ve got to amass overwhelming force.”