South Asia and Beyond

‘Biden Has To Increase Risk Appetite With Xi Jinping, Be Willing To Enforce Indo-Pacific Red Lines’

NEW DELHI: “I expect the Biden administration to uphold the Trump administration’s precedent with regard to arms sales to Taiwan,” says Charlie Lyons Jones at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra, adding, “it would be really helpful for bolstering deterrence in the Taiwan Strait.” The Trump administration notified Congress of military deals to Taiwan worth a potential $12 billion in its first three years, including 66 F-16s, Stinger missiles and 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks. In October, the administration gave the green signal for plans for nearly another $5 billion worth of sales including Harpoon missiles, rocket artillery and aerial reconnaissance sensors. The expert on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s Air and Naval Modernisation and Taiwanese Politics and Foreign Policy points out apart from weaponry “Biden will have to increase his appetite for risk in his dealings with Xi Jinping and will have to be more willing to enforce U.S. red lines in the Indo-Pacific”. On Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen launching a Made In Taiwan submarine programme with a U.S. combat system on November 24, Jones says there may be “teething issues as construction commences” to replace four existing submarines, two of World War II vintage and two from the 1980s but “Taiwan has the engineering and construction abilities to overcome those challenges and develop and deliver a potent submarine capability.”

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In this interview with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi, the fluent Mandarin analyst discusses the Biden team appearing to “effectively downgrade U.S.-Taiwan ties from the Presidential to the senior official level”, how the Chinese government’s “14 demands to the Australian Government is an example of showmanship that decreases Canberra’s room for compromise” and the PLA Navy’s anti-ship cruise and ballistic missile threat to the U.S and other allied navies. He sums up expectations from the next U.S. government by paraphrasing President-elect Biden’s tweet to say “America can’t just lead by the power of its example. It also needs to lead by the example of its power.”

Amitabh P. Revi

Russian language speaker and conflict journalist. Amitabh Revi has been there, done that—from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to sublime Russia, Australia and the United States. Along the way he's picked up the Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship, the Ramnath Goenka award for coverage of the Iraq War and RT's Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria.