President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he and Chinese leader XI Jinping agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement and reduce tensions in the region following provocative moves by the Chinese.
“I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan,” Biden told reporters Tuesday, The Hill reported. “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.”
Known as the “Taiwan Relations Act,” the 1979 law passed by Congress allows the island nation off the Chinese mainland to govern itself separately from the communist Chinese regime and maintain a trade relationship with the U.S. without being officially recognized as a separate country.
At the time, the U.S. had terminated relations with communist China, but would later reestablish trade with the regime.
Without directly saying so, the United States guarantees support for Taiwan to maintain its sovereignty over mainland China.
Recently, China has made some provocative moves against Taiwan from amassing troops on the shore facing the island and intruding into Taiwan’s airspace.
State-run media has also postured toward taking over the island and installing the state’s government.
According to The Hill, the U.S. State Department said Sunday it was “very concerned” about the recent provocations.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
The Biden administration said Tuesday it is dispatching National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to Switzerland next week to meet with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi where China’s moves will likely be discussed.
“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 deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the consequences of a Chinese takeover would be “catastrophic.”
“And they should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system. It would signal that in today’s global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy,” Tsai wrote in a Foreign Affairs piece published Tuesday.
While he said he wanted a peaceful solution and outcome to the recent tensions, he warned the mainland that the island nation would defend itself.
“But if its democracy and way of life are threatened, Taiwan will do whatever it takes to defend itself,” Tsai wrote.