Threats of War Raise Additional Distrust

Washington and its allies are doing the right thing by discouraging China from invading Taiwan. The U.S. and China are divided by deep distrust. At least they are still speaking with each other.

China’s President Xi Jinping thinks in the same terms as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi considers it his country’s right to restore an imaginary, historic greatness and to avenge past humiliation. Like Putin, he surrounds himself with loyalists and likely only receives reports that confirm his worldview. The Russian attack on Ukraine has demonstrated where that can lead. In that respect, the U.S., Taiwan and Japan are right to be working with new urgency to discourage China from invading Taiwan.

Gambling Away Further Trust

At a security forum in Singapore, Beijing and Washington outlined their well-known positions. The Chinese defense minister warned the U.S. against supporting Taiwanese independence. His threats sounded warlike, but their substance wase nothing new. Xi gambled away further trust by clinging to the assertion that the U.S., not Russia, is responsible for the deaths in Ukraine.

Given the deep distrust between China and the U.S., it must be considered a success that both defense ministers even met personally and apparently conducted productive talks. Because despite all the parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, this is no time for defeatism.

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