In just the first week of acquiring the White House, US President Joe Biden has sent an evident message to China that Washington would oppose any ideas of expansionism of Beijing in the East and Southeast Asia.
In several messages and calls to various world leaders, he and his top security officials have underlined the support for allies Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines indicating that the US would reject China’s disputed territorial claims concerning those regions.
Biden told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that his administration is committed to defending Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed both by Japan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
That stance was echoed by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who told Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi on Saturday that the contested islands were covered by the US-Japan Security Treaty.
Messages Conveyed by the United States over Expansionism
Austin affirmed that the United States “remains opposed to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” according to a Pentagon statement on the call.
State Department spokesman Ned Price warned China about menacing Taiwan after it repeatedly sent more than a dozen military fighters and bombers through the island’s air defence zone.
“We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity security and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with Democratic Taiwan,” Price said in a statement.
He also said, “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid.”
And Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that a mutual defense treaty obliging the US to defend the Philippines against attack in the Pacific also applied to the disputed South China Sea, something the Obama administration did not specify.
Those comments and others sought to emphasize that the new Biden administration will not deviate from the firm security stance towards China that it inherited from ex-president Donald Trump.
America’s Friendship with other Nations
Washington has long sided with allies such as South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia in rejecting disputed Chinese territorial claims in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Over the past three years, Washington has expanded defense cooperation with India, which sees China posing a military threat both on its northern border and in the seas to the south.
In a call with Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, Austin observed that the two countries’ defense partnership “is built upon shared values and a common interest in ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
In addition, even as his initial focus for the US Defense Department is battling the coronavirus, Austin is expected to make Asia his first destination on an international trip.
The US has Clearly warned China that it will no longer tolerate its attempts of expansionism in East and Southeast Asia and is ready to help its allies no matter what the situation is.