A U.S. delegation arrived in Taiwan to show support for the nation as leaders are expected to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this week. Concerns about the island have escalated since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his assault on Ukraine.
Allen Carlson, associate professor of government and an expert on China, says Taiwan was on edge even before the invasion.
“Over the last several years Taiwan has watched China methodically crack down on dissent in Hong Kong and continue its assimilationist policies in both Tibet and Xinjiang. For an island that Beijing has long insisted belongs to it, such an approach to governing territory under its control is chilling.
“Xi Jinping’s stance on Taiwan’s return to the mainland has also grown more direct and impatient, raising concerns on the island about the durability of the status quo across the Taiwan Straits.
“America’s abrupt and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan underscored such worries as it raised questions about Washington’s commitment to its allies.
“Now, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated all this anxiety as it is a direct challenge to Washington, and America’s deterrent capabilities. More directly stated, it leaves those in Taiwan pondering if Xi will now follow Putin’s lead in achieving a territorial objective that has until now been held in check.”