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Biden recasts US-China engagement over Taiwan
Biden recasts US-China engagement over Taiwan

Washington, Sep 3 : Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican Presidential race’s breakout star, has an interesting suggestion: The US should defend Taiwan from China altering its current policy of strategic ambiguity till it doesn’t become semiconductor independent.

And he has made that commitment without tagging it to self-sufficiency in semiconductors, which is a priority agenda for his administration. He has also not changed the US’ one-China policy and strategic ambiguity, which essentially means the US will not announce in advance its response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.  Although Ramaswamy may seem to be late to the party, he is echoing a certain section of American policy makers and experts who have been calling for a change in the US policy in view of China’s aggressive rise.  A slow drumroll of calls for getting tough with China with a speech from Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in 2020, which can be encapsulated in one word: “Enough." 

The United States has committed itself to recognising the People’s Republic of China as China, and not Taiwan, which considers itself a separate country, under its one-China policy.  But the US maintains a “robust unofficial relationship” with Taiwan. It does not support Taiwan's independence but opposes any unilateral attempt by either party to change the status quo. And it has committed itself to arming Taiwan to enable it to defend itself against any aggression, under the Taiwan Relations Act.  But as the possibility of China using force to unify with Taiwan has become real than imagined, Americans have begun seeing it as “inevitable” and with it are the chances of a confrontation. Biden has said the US will intervene with boots on the ground, and he has said it so many times that his aides have stopped trying to walk it back. 

Asked in an interview in September 2022 if US forces would defend Taiwan, he had said: “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”  When the interviewer pressed if American men and women will defend the island nation, unlike Ukraine, he said, “Yes."

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