Biden and Xi agree to abide by Taiwan agreement

President Biden said on Tuesday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to abide by the status quo in light of recent military provocations carried out by China against the self-governing island.

“I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree we will abide by the Taiwan agreement. That’s where we are and I made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement,” Biden told reporters.

The Taiwan Relations Act, one of several planks undergirding the current diplomatic relationship between the U.S., China and Taiwan, was passed by Congress in 1979 in order to “maintain peace, security, and stability in the Western Pacific” by maintaining “friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations” between Washington and Taipei.

The law maintains unofficial, nondiplomatic relations between Taiwan and the U.S., allowing for it to be treated as a foreign country without being officially recognized.

It also hinged the establishment of future U.S.-China diplomatic relations on the understanding that Taiwan’s future would be determined peacefully. Earlier this year, U.S. officials warned that China may attempt to annex Taiwan some time soon.

On Monday, Taiwanese officials said the country was preparing for a possible war with China.

The Taiwan Relations Act is purposefully vague but states that the U.S. “will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” The nature and quantity of the defense provided by the U.S. is meant to be determined by Congress and the president.

China has recently ramped up its rhetoric against the democratically governed island, which it claims sovereignty over. Taiwanese officials on Monday said China sent 52 military aircrafts into its airspace, marking the largest provocation from China yet.

The State Department said on Sunday that it is “very concerned” about China’s “provocative military activity near Taiwan” following recent intrusions into Taiwan’s airspace.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

On Tuesday, the White House announced that national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland this week. Sullivan will likely press Yang on China’s recent provocations.

“We will continue to seek to responsibly manage the competition between the U.S. and the PRC and that’s what this meeting is about,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said to reporters on Tuesday.

Tags China Cross-Strait relations International relations Jake Sullivan Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Politics of China Politics of Taiwan Sovereignty Taiwan Taiwan Relations Act Taiwan Strait Taiwan–United States relations Xi Jinping

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