The United States and China are on a collision course in the Taiwan Strait.
China’s ambitions have risen along with its military power and it may soon be capable of seizing democratically ruled Taiwan — even in a fight with the United States. President Xi Jinping is hoping to get an unprecedented third term later this fall and cannot afford to appear weak. He has been increasing pressure on Taiwan and apparently believes the United States is abandoning its circumspection about Taiwan’s status and may soon formally back the island’s independence.
At the same time, longstanding U.S. “strategic ambiguity” has given way to strategic confusion. President Biden’s misstatements on Taiwan are undermining the carefully devised policy that has kept the peace for decades. He has repeatedly said that the United States has a commitment to defend Taiwan. Last November, Mr. Biden remarked that Taiwan is “independent.” U.S.-Taiwan official exchanges, military cooperation and U.S. warship transits of the Taiwan Strait that were once kept under wraps are being made public.