US President Joe Biden’s engagements with regional leaders during his trip to Asia could yield positive political overtones for Taiwan, observers in the US said on Thursday.
There could be serious conversations on what Japan and the US might do to “deter aggression against Taiwan,” said Shelia Smith, a senior fellow for Asia-Pacific studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has framed the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a challenge to global order that affects the Indo-Pacific region, would certainly want to continue to coordinate with the US on how to respond to a potential Taiwan crisis, Smith told a forum to preview Biden’s trip, which began in South Korea on Friday.
Photo: AFP
References to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and concerns over China’s behavior can be expected in a joint statement issued by Biden and Kishida, Smith said.
Biden met with South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl, with the focus of their talks expected to be on North Korea.
Biden is to travel to Tokyo to meet Kishida and attend a summit on Tuesday of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) leaders, an alliance of the US, Japan, India and Australia.
The emphasis is likely to be on China at the Quad meeting, observers said.
Manjari Chatterjee Miller, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the forum that she expects the top agenda item at the Quad summit to be the specter of China as a strategic threat to open societies and democracies.
“It would also be a demonstration that there would be the similar kind of resolve in Asia on Taiwan as there has been in Europe on Ukraine,” Miller said. “I think that’s something that the Biden administration would hope to solidify with this meeting.”
However, Miller said she does not expect a Quad statement that explicitly mentions China, partly because India would not be part of the Quad if it were an explicitly anti-China alliance.
Nonetheless, the way Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, characterized the trip — that it is meant for open societies and democracies to get together — has made it clear there would be regional support for Taiwan were China to invade, she said.
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