Republican Lawmakers Warn Blinken’s Statement on Taiwan Could Lead to Chinese Invasion
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent declaration that the United States “does not support Taiwan independence” has raised concerns among leading Republican lawmakers. They believe that this statement could potentially pave the way for a Chinese invasion of the contested island.
“Joe Biden’s weakness led to disaster in Ukraine and Taiwan easily could suffer the same fate,” warned Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Select Committee on China. He expressed his concerns to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday, just as Blinken concluded his two-day tour through China aimed at improving diplomatic relations with the communist regime. Banks added, “Blinken basically promised the current embarrassment of an administration will do nothing to safeguard Taiwan’s independence and gave Chairman Xi a two-year window to invade.”
Blinken’s statement on Taiwan, although consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, has rankled China hawks in Congress who see the Biden administration as capitulating to a ruthless regime that continues to spy on America, create economic havoc, and position its military for a potential attack on Taiwan. These lawmakers remain unconvinced that Blinken’s trip did anything to address their concerns about the United States being bullied by Beijing.
The secretary’s highly anticipated trip to China was initially postponed in February after U.S. officials discovered a Chinese spy balloon surveilling sensitive military sites. The Biden administration faced criticism for the delay in shooting down the balloon, which was seen as advantageous to China’s espionage efforts. Four months later, Blinken finally arrived in China, where he engaged in high-level talks with Communist Party leaders but failed to achieve any significant diplomatic breakthroughs. This outcome has left lawmakers and regional experts questioning the costs of Biden’s outreach to China.
“PRC diplomats told Secretary Blinken that the United States must choose between cooperation with China and conflict,” stated Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Select Committee on China. He added, “The CCP seeks to paint any competitive action that does not further its authoritarian vision as a provocation. The Biden Administration must push back against this insidious framing and not-so-veiled threat.”
Gallagher emphasized, “Only one party seeks to upend the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait, only one party is committing genocide, only one party is militarizing islands in the South China Sea—the Chinese Communist Party.”
Throughout his trip, Blinken struck a conciliatory tone and emphasized the need to deescalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies. However, his attempts to fulfill this mission lacked substance, relying instead on generic statements about the “importance of responsibly managing the competition between the United States and the PRC through open channels of communication.” In a media interview on Tuesday, Blinken even gave China a pass on the spy balloon incident, stating that the chapter in U.S.-China relations “should be closed.”
President Joe Biden praised Blinken’s visit, stating that he “did a hell of a job.”
A State Department spokesman declined to comment on Blinken’s remarks about Taiwan and the administration’s adherence to the “One China” policy, which recognizes Taiwan as part of the CCP’s domain. While this has been the official United States position for decades, Blinken’s decision to emphasize the policy while standing on Chinese soil drew outrage among many Republicans.
“Blinken flew to Communist China to appease Xi Jinping and state the Biden administration does not support Taiwan’s independence,” wrote Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) on Twitter, echoing the sentiments of many GOP legislators. She questioned, “Why won’t this administration stand up to bullies and stand for freedom?”
When asked if Blinken privately addressed China’s threats to invade Taiwan, a State Department spokesman referred to the secretary’s Tuesday afternoon press conference.
“I raised U.S. concerns—shared by a growing number of countries—about the PRC’s provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait, as well as in the South and East China Seas,” Blinken told reporters. “On Taiwan, I reiterated the longstanding … policy.”
Blinken stated, “That policy has not changed… we do not support Taiwan independence. We remain opposed to any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side.”
These comments contradict earlier promises by Biden to defend Taiwan’s borders if China launches an invasion, an event that the United States estimates could occur within the next two years.
Michael Sobolik, senior fellow in Indo-Pacific studies at the American Foreign Policy Council think-tank, described Blinken’s trip as a “disaster” and noted that the secretary failed to secure any of the bilateral deals he had hoped for.
“Blinken did not secure the primary deliverable he hoped to secure: a bilateral military hotline. Beijing shot the proposal down yet again,” Sobolik said.
This failure came after the Biden administration made several concessions to China in order to secure a face-to-face meeting with Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping. These concessions included lying about China’s spy balloon, blocking the release of the FBI’s investigation into the balloon, freezing human rights sanctions, and delaying export controls on Huawei, according to Sobolik.
“This is not ‘responsible competition.’ This is not ‘managed competition,’” he added. “The Biden administration is deterring itself from actually competing with America’s greatest geopolitical adversary.”
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