President Bident met with Chinese President XI Jinping for the first time since taking office, and the pair discussed a wide range of topics, including Taiwan. On Sunday evening BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark spoke with the Deputy Secretary General of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, Lin Fei-Fan.
Presenter Kirsty Wark asked the Taiwanese official: “In your view, could the West afford to lose Taiwan?”
Lin Fei-Fan replied: “I don’t think so. I think Taiwan is standing clearly on the front line of liberal democracy.
“Our democracy has only lasted for 30 years, it’s quite new…but we have many democratic achievements, you can see that in our LGBTQ rights and a lot of work on transitional justice as well.”
He continued: “We are standing on this front line. We hope that the world can acknowledge that. Taiwan cannot be abandoned, if Taiwan is abandoned, it would be a disaster for liberal democracy.”
The interviews come at night US President Joe Biden said he did not believe China would attempt to invade Taiwan after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
President Biden was asked by reporters on Monday if he believed China planned to invade the country and if he believe a new Cold War was brewing.
He replied: “I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War. I have met many times with Xi Jinping and we were candid and clear with one another across the board.
“I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan.”
President Biden assured that the US policy on Taiwan “has not changed at all” and “it’s the same exact position we have always had”.
He said: “I made it clear we want to see cross-strait issues to be peacefully resolved and so it never has to come to that. And I’m convinced that he understood what I was saying, I understood what he was saying.”
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Taiwan’s Presidental office put out its own statement after the visit between President Biden and President Xi and said the country would not compromise on its sovereignty and the Taiwanese people will protect their democratic way of life.
They added maintaining peace was a common responsibility for both China and Taiwan and “meeting on the battlefield” was not an option for either side.
President Xi put out a readout to the Chinese state media and said Taiwan remained “the core of China’s core interests… and the first red line in US-China relations that cannot be crossed”.
In October, the Chinese leader refused to rule out using force to unify Taiwan during his opening speech at the opening of the Communist party Congress.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has also warned that if China cannot achieve unification through peaceful methods, it would use coercion and possibly force.
He said: “That is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions.”
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Mr Blinken also said the US would honour its commitment to Taiwan and support the country’s means to defend itself.
The United States’ official policy on Taiwan does not comment on using military action to defend the country, but President Biden has said this year the US would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack.
Tensions between the USA and China have risen this year after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan this summer and supported the country’s sovereignty.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway Chinese providence while the self-ruling island views itself as its own sovereign country.
The Chinese Government responded to the visit with outrage, and conducted large military exercises around Taiwan, prompting international concerns about a conflict.
When asked about the Chinese response to her visit Ms Pelosi said: “Its really important for the message to be clear, [The US] is committed to the security of Taiwan.”
She added: “But it’s about our shared values of democracy and freedom and how Taiwan has been an example to the world … Whether there are insecurities of the president of China relating to his own political situation I don’t know.”