Canberra’s ‘Strategic Ambiguity’ Stance on Taiwan Unchanged After Biden’s Jab, Australian PM Says

Anthony Albanese - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.05.2022
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Taiwan, which has been governed independently from Beijing since 1949, maintains that it is an autonomous country, while China views the island as a breakaway province. The US formally adheres to China’s position, but continues to provide Taiwan with military hardware.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made it clear that Canberra’s position of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan remains unchanged in light of US President Joe Biden’s recent gaffe that Washington would get militarily involved if Beijing attacks the island.

Speaking at a press conference after the Quad leaders' summit in Tokyo on Monday, the newly-elected prime minister stressed that “there should be no unilateral change to the status quo” and that Australia’s position has "not changed”.

The US-led position of “strategic ambiguity” leaves China with guesswork on what the Quad allies would do if Beijing extends its sovereignty to Taiwan. The Quad group is made up of Japan, Australia, India and the US.
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Albanese’s statement came shortly after Biden said “yes” when asked by a reporter whether the US would intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force. Biden's aides then quickly downplayed POTUS’ comment, confirming that there was no change to US policy of “strategic ambiguity” with respect to the island.

This followed Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce claiming earlier this month that Beijing is “starting a process of encircling Australia”, in an apparent reference to a recently clinched security pact between China and the Solomon Islands. Both sides have repeatedly rejected speculation that the new agreement would lead to the creation of a Chinese base in the Pacific nation.

Taiwan Tensions

Simmering tensions over Taiwan escalated in late January, when China sent almost 40 fighter jets into Taiwan's air defence identification zone for two days in a row. The flyovers came after US and EU delegations visited the island and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen admitted the presence of American troops on Taiwanese territory for training purposes in an interview with CNN. This followed the Wall Street Journal earlier reporting that US Marines and special operations forces had secretly trained Taiwan’s soldiers "for more than a year".
The tense situation is exacerbated by the US repeatedly sending warships to the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China. Beijing slams such missions as provocations, describing Washington as "the destroyer of peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait and "a security risk creator in the region".
Officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan severed all ties with mainland China in 1949, in the wake of the Chinese Civil War.
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At the time, forces led by then-Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong of the People's Republic of China (PRC) defeated the ROC's Kuomintang and forced them to flee to Taiwan. With both the ROC and the PRC claiming the country's territory, the UN recognised the PRC as the one and only legal China in 1971.
Beijing considers the island an integral part of the country, and adheres to a policy of peaceful reunification under the "One China – Two Systems" model.
The US does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but maintains a representative office in Taipei, remaining the island's biggest supplier of military hardware.
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