TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Threats from Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) have put Taiwan on the international agenda and helped it gain unprecedented levels of international support, an opinion piece in “Foreign Policy” argued Friday (July 30).
Zoe Leung, a senior associate with the Asia-Pacific program at the EastWest Institute, and Cameron Waltz, a junior fellow at the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, wrote that China’s attempts to force unification have backfired. They say the war of words has only served to strengthen Taiwan’s democratic resolve and its international standing.
Xi’s credibility was already damaged by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) repressive actions against the Uyghurs and the crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. His harsh words on Taiwan provoked more negative attention in the United States, the authors argued.
“Under Biden, the White House and Congress are aligned on Taiwan being an issue in its own right as opposed to a sideshow to U.S.-China relations,” according to the Foreign Policy piece. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress is discussing a record 33 proposed bills related to Taiwan.
“The United States is now at its closest with Taiwan since it de-recognized the Republic of China in 1979,” Leung and Waltz wrote, referring to visits to the nation by officials and to projects like vaccine donations.
The U.S. attitude has also expanded to other countries, which are now less likely to cave in to Chinese demands. This is especially true after Beijing’s refusal to allow Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi’s tactics might be popular inside China, but they “have helped Taiwan gain more international support than it has seen in decades,” the authors wrote. They concluded that “China has given Taiwan just as many reasons to be confident as it has to be anxious.”