Biden spy chief: China would find change in US policy toward Taiwan ‘deeply destabilizing’

Beijing would find it “deeply destabilizing” if the United States explicitly declared that it would come to the defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, the Biden administration’s spy chief said Thursday.

“From our perspective, if we were to see a move by the United States from strategic ambiguity, as you identified, to clarity on a willingness to intervene in a Taiwan eventuality, the Chinese would find that deeply destabilizing,” the director of national intelligence said. April HainesApril HainesPictures of the week: Ketanji Brown-Jackson and Senator Booker, “Zelensky Way” and many sheep told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I think it would reinforce Chinese perceptions that the United States is determined to limit China’s rise, including through military force, and would likely cause Beijing to aggressively undermine American interests around the world,” he said. she added.

From Taipei’s perspective, Haines said, it’s “possible” that a US shift in “strategic ambiguity” could lead to a more Taiwanese move toward independence.

“I would say that already Taiwan is hardening to some extent towards independence as they look, basically, at what happened in Hong Kong, and I think that’s a growing challenge,” he said. she adds.

Haines’ comments at the committee’s annual hearing on global threats come after the outgoing top US military officer for the region suggested it was time to rethink US policy toward Taiwan.

As part of a decades-old policy, the United States maintains “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, where it does not explicitly say it would come to the island’s defense in a conflict with China. The policy aims both to avoid provoking Beijing and not to encourage Taiwan to formally declare independence, which could lead to a Chinese invasion.

Asked about the strategic ambiguity policy during a Senate Armed Services hearing last month, the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command (Indo-Pacom), Admiral Philip Davidson, said that while the current policy has “helped maintain Taiwan in its current status”, he thinks “these things should be reviewed regularly.

Davidson also said China could try to invade Taiwan within six years. Admiral John Aquilino, who will take command of Indo-Pacom on Friday, also told senators that a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan is “much closer to us than most realize.”

“The rejuvenation of the Chinese Communist Party is at stake” when it comes to Taiwan, Aquilino said last month, adding that Beijing views annexation of the island as its “no”. 1 priority.

During Thursday’s hearing, Haines declined to answer a question about the timing of a possible invasion of Taiwan during the public session, saying she would prefer to comment during the confidential session.

Testifying alongside Haines, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s goal was “to unify Taiwan with China.”

“We don’t know if he’s actually made a decision on how and when to do it,” Berrier added, but noted that there has been “an increase in [Chinese military] activity on the sea and in the airspace around Taiwan over the past year.

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