Taiwan becomes increasingly concerned

Tensions in the South China Sea heat up.

Last week, China led a major encirclement of the island nation in a series of drills. Before that, Taiwanese President Tsai met with U.S. lawmakers and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in which they affirmed a strong “bond” between the two nations. These are not only military promises—the U.S. and Taiwan have been working toward advancing trade and investment plans to tie the two nations closer to each other.

In response to the meeting, China threatened a “forceful” retaliation, and Taiwan has urged America to help with training and weapons transfers. Former Trump Administration advisors argue that China’s military ambitions seem to expand beyond Taiwan and for “distant power projection,” far beyond the South China Sea.

America is also putting pressure on China by continuing its routine deployment of warships to the region to challenge China’s presence in the South China Sea. China views these actions as illegal. Even so, it is unclear whether the United States will—or can—fully assist in repelling a Chinese invasion in the event of a hot war against the island. While U.S. political leaders, including President Biden, have affirmed U.S. support of Taiwan.