The Biden Admin is increasing tensions with China for the first time—increasing US Military presence in the South China Sea, vowing to increase relations with Taiwan despite warnings from Beijing, and continuing the aggressive policies championed by the Trump Admin…
Washington is once against ramping up tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea — but this time, it’s happening under a new administration. The US Military confirmed that it sent an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt into the region over the weekend.
They claimed it was part of a “Freedom of the seas” navigation exercise, similar to the drills that were routinely carried out by the Trump Administration as it increased the US Military’s presence in the South China Sea. But this time the added military presence came with a clear message. The small island nation of Taiwan, which is considered part of China under the “One China” Policy, reported that at least eight bomber planes and four fighter jets from Beijing entered its airspace on Saturday.
For the first time, Biden’s State Department issued a sharp warning to China, in which it said “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.”
Beijing was quick to fire back — a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry argued that if the US truly wants peace and stability in the region — then it needs to stop sending its ships and start respecting policies that have been in place for decades. He said, “We urge the US side to effectively adhere to the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-US joint communiqués, handle Taiwan-related issues cautiously and properly, and refrain from sending wrong signals to the Taiwan independence forces so as to avoid further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
These types of exchanges were all too common between the US and China when Donald Trump was in office — but this is a first for the new Biden Administration. However, it appears that Biden’s policy for the South China Sea could continue to look similar to what we saw from Trump — at least according to his closest advisers. In fact, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State said he see China as the greatest threat to the US — and he actually agrees with Trump’s decision to target Beijing.
Looking back – Beijing showed great restraint when the Trump Administration took unprecedented steps in its relations with Taiwan — but its not clear yet if that will continue to be the approach if the Biden Administration does the same.