U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening, Oct. 5, said that President Xi Jinping of China has agreed with him on the “Taiwan agreement.”
“I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree … we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement,” the president said, according to Reuters. “We made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.”
The remarks were made as military tensions between Taiwan and China continued to escalate.
Taiwan regards itself as a sovereign state after it broke away from China during the Chinese Civil War in 1949. China, on the other hand, regards Taiwan as a renegade province.
It appeared that Biden and China’s Xi had reached a consensus on upholding the long-standing “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei.
Part of the agreement was the decades-old Taiwan Relations Act, which lets the U.S. assist Taiwan in defending itself in preserving peace and stability in the Western Pacific area.
Under the condition that Taiwan’s future is settled peacefully, the U.S. would prioritize diplomatic ties with Beijing over Taiwan, the act provides. But it would not have any word in Taiwan’s sovereignty and continue to identify Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China.
With Biden’s comment about the “agreement,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. has reassured that it would continue to help the island with its defenses.
“Facing the Chinese government’s military, diplomatic and economic threats, Taiwan and the United States have always maintained close and smooth communication channels,” the agency said, per Reuters.
As of Monday, Oct. 4, Taiwan reported 56 Chinese aircraft in its defensive zone, marking a total of nearly 150 military jets being sent from China over four consecutive days.
“China is the culprit for causing tensions between the two sides of the (Taiwan) Strait and it has further threatened regional security and order,” said Chiu Chui-cheng, spokesman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, according to BBC.
With the level of military threats and provocation from Beijing, Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng expected China was preparing for a full invasion of the island in the next three years.
“By 2025, China will bring the cost and attrition to its lowest. It has the capacity now, but it will not start a war easily, having to take many other things into consideration,” he said on Wednesday, as The Guardian reported.