Biden Says China Lacks Capacity to Invade Taiwan Amid Economic Woes

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
September 13, 2023Asia & Pacific
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U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sunday that China’s economic woes may hinder the country from invading self-ruling Taiwan, as the situation could mean that Beijing no longer possesses the capacity it once had.

President Biden arrived in Vietnam on Sept. 10 after wrapping up his meetings at the G20 summit in India. During a press conference in Hanoi, President Biden said he hopes to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping “soon.”

“I hope I get to see Mr. Xi sooner than later. I’ve spent more time with him than any other world leader has, sum total, over the last 12 years,” he told reporters.

When asked why he hadn’t met with Mr. Xi in 10 months, President Biden said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader has “his hands full right now” with youth unemployment and economic difficulties.

“My staff still meets with President Xi’s people and his Cabinet, and, in effect, I met with his number-two person here in India today,” he added. “So, it’s not like there’s a crisis if I don’t personally speak to him.”

They last met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on Nov. 14, 2022. Mr. Xi has decided to skip the summit in India and sent Chinese Premier Li Qiang in his place without providing any reasons.

President Biden said, “China has a difficult economic problem right now for a whole range of reasons that relate to the international growth and lack thereof and the policies that China has followed.”

He believes this economic situation makes communist China’s invasion of Taiwan unlikely.

“I don’t think it’s going to cause China to invade Taiwan. And [as a] matter of fact, the opposite—it probably doesn’t have the same capacity that it had before,” he remarked.

President Biden said the United States has no intention of “hurting” or decoupling from China, but it would cease the sale of materials that could potentially boost China’s capacity to make more nuclear weapons.

China’s economy is at risk of missing Beijing’s annual growth target of about 5 percent as officials wrestle with a worsening property slump, weak consumer spending, and tumbling credit growth.

Customer data showed that the country’s exports dropped 8.8 percent in August year-on-year. China’s imports contracted 7.3 percent, slower than an expected 9 percent decline and last month’s 12.4 percent fall.

CCP’s Potential Drive to Invade Taiwan

The CCP regards Taiwan as a renegade province that must be united with mainland China by any means necessary, even as Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy.

Chinese incursions into Taiwan have occurred almost daily as the CCP increased military pressure on the self-ruled island. Taiwan’s military detected 26 Chinese warplanes and 13 vessels on Sept. 11, with 11 of the detected aircraft crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan’s military responded by deploying aircraft, navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to monitor the Chinese warplanes and ships.

Meanwhile, American journalist and author Gordon Chang, known for his book “The Coming Collapse of China,” said that China’s domestic problems may drive Mr. Xi to launch an invasion against Taiwan.

“He has the incentives to go to war because China is in crisis. They’re continuing debt defaults by big property companies, plunging property prices, a tumbling economy, worsening food shortages, and deteriorating environment, and failing local governments,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney on Aug. 19.

“Xi Jinping knows he’s being blamed for all these problems. He knows he has no solution to them, so he could very well go out and start a war to divert the Chinese people from his policy mistakes,” Mr. Chang told The Epoch Times after the speech.

When asked if the CCP can afford a war, Mr. Chang gave an affirmative answer: “I think that they can afford a war.

“I don’t think that they’re ready to go to war, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start a war because they might think that if they don’t start a war now, they’ll never be able to accomplish what they set out to do, so they very well may decide their best chance is now, and that means they can take us by surprise,” he added.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the Chinese regime is “more likely” to make a move against Taiwan in 2027 as the CCP leader might see aggression against Taiwan as a way to leave a legacy from his third term in office.

“To me, 2027 is the year that we need to watch out … because of the domestic power situation in China,” Mr. Wu said in an exclusive interview with Sky News on Jan. 18.

“In 2027, Xi Jinping is likely to go into his fourth term. And if in his previous three terms, he cannot claim any achievement during his office, he might need to think about something else for him to claim as his achievement or his legacy,” he added.

Reuters, Cindy Li, and Hannah Ng contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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