Tokyo — The alliance presents a unified front as India refrains from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even before President Biden visited Tokyo this week to strengthen partnerships with Australia, India and Japan. I was having a hard time.
Now, in a statement made by President Biden about Taiwan on Monday, the Indo-Pacific block faces another unexpected complexity. Biden said on the eve of the four-country summit that if China invaded, he would militarily defend a democratic island, send a shock wave around the world, and ally try to avoid further hostilities. He said he would be in a tricky position. Beijing.
In Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Biden tried to soften his comments. Alongside three other leaders in the group known as Quad, he said his administration did not abandon the long-accepted “policy of deliberate ambiguity” for Taiwan. “The policy hasn’t changed at all,” Biden said when asked if China would send troops if it attacked Taiwan.
Still, when a reporter asked in a comment the day before, “Are you willing to be involved in the military to protect Taiwan?” And then answered “yes,” political leaders around the world said his true truth. They decided their thoughts and tried to adjust their thoughts. position.
Mr Biden’s remarks were an imminent and perhaps unwanted challenge for Australia’s new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Just hours after being sworn on Monday, Albanese and his new foreign minister, Penny Won, who severely criticized the party’s opposition during a campaign suggesting that Australia would pursue the United States in a war over Taiwan. I flew to Tokyo. ..
“Increasing the prospect of a war with a superpower is the most dangerous election tactic in Australia’s history,” Wong said at the time.
Read more about Biden’s trip to Asia
Prior to the election, analysts expected that if Albanese became prime minister, he would turn the government’s stance toward China, even if he did not make major policy changes. Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison often talked about the warlike Chinese government when relations hit the bottom for decades.
On the way to Tokyo, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang congratulated Albanese, ending the nearly three-year diplomatic freeze between Australia and China in search of a “healthy and stable” relationship. China’s state media said the quad meeting, called the anti-China alliance, would be seen as an immediate test of Albanese’s “political wisdom.”
Now, asking again whether Australia will support Taiwan’s military defense can throw away what detente may emerge. It may also shift focus from the subject that the Albanese government would rather emphasize: greater ambitions for climate change and increased aid and diplomatic involvement with Southeast Asian and Pacific Islands countries.
James Curran, a historian at the University of Sydney, said Albanese and his administration would prefer “cautious and gradual changes” to China. He added, “They wouldn’t want to be seen to ease the pressure on China from the perspective of our policy.”
Japan was also in a complicated position. The westernmost inhabited island of Japan is only 65 miles from Taiwan, and the war with China could draw a country that has denied armed conflict into a dangerous territory.
The Japanese government has confronted China’s growing ambitions in the region and is working towards a significant increase in defense spending, discussing plans to acquire weapons capable of attacking enemy missile launch sites.
But in contrast to Mr Biden’s declaration on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sought to maintain ambiguity when asked about Taiwan. “The basic positions of both countries on Taiwan have not changed,” Kishida said.
Fumio Kishida, some Liberal Democratic Party hawks, said he was pleased that Mr. Biden had expressed his “true intentions”, but said the president could increase tensions with China and accelerate the arms race. Expressed concern.
Still, when the quad leaders met on Tuesday, they tried to regenerate the consensus as much as possible. The block has announced new initiatives on cybersecurity, space, vaccine distribution and data sharing partnerships to monitor South China Sea routes.
Countries have issued a joint statement calling for “peace and stability” in Ukraine, acknowledging the “tragic humanitarian crisis” caused by the war. Mr Biden said at the beginning of the meeting with Mr Modi of India that the two would discuss “an unjustified invasion of Ukraine.” However, Mr. Modi did not mention Russia.
His country has hesitated to criticize the Kremlin, partly for fear of compromising its security and economic ties. Biden administration officials said the two countries could cooperate in investing in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing influence, although they disagreed on Russia.
At a press conference after the meeting with Mr. Modi, Mr. Kishida emphasized that the two countries had agreed on principles such as the rule of law and sovereignty.
Aaron Connelly, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, said: “The real hope between the four governments is that it evolves from aggressive behavior along the periphery of China into a balanced coalition that discourages Beijing. This is realism, not values. It is a coalition based on. “
However, Connelly said, “There is a lot of skepticism about the quads in Southeast Asia.” There, countries are feeling the undesired pressure to choose between the United States and China.
“Many here see it as increasing geopolitical tensions in ways that increase risk,” Connelly said.
Mr Biden’s remarks on Taiwan were made when the United States launched a new economic framework with more than a dozen other allies aimed at countering China’s rule. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that the Indo-Pacific economic framework should not be a tool for the United States to “force the countries of the region to choose their side,” and attempts to contain China must fail. Said not.
China’s first reaction to the president’s comments on Monday was relatively modest, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Mio Wentan escalated his words on Tuesday, and the United States implicitly upheld Taiwan’s independence. I accused him of being there. You can cross.
“If it continues to go the wrong way, this will not only cause irreparable damage to Sino-US relations, but will eventually cost the United States an intolerable price,” Wang said. He quoted an old Chinese song. When Jackal arrives, he is greeted with a shotgun. “
US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said Chinese language reflects China’s isolation.
“China wants to get America out of the backyard,” he said. “They hate that we have allies and friends, because it is emphasized that they only have the subject and their dependents. Defense, national security. Everything we do in economic partnerships and political involvement underscores our alliance and sustainability. “
The report was contributed by Vivian Wang in Hong Kong, John Liu in Taipei, Damien Cave in Sydney, Australia, and Motoko Rich in Tokyo.