View: Taiwan Teeters Amid Chinese Threats and Lukewarm U.S. Backing

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The recent public threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan, should U.S. naval vessels dock on the island, illustrates the increasingly precarious position of one of the region’s few democracies. Mixed signals from President Donald Trump, his administration and the U.S. Congress have only escalated the risks and eroded the influence of Washington in the eyes of its “unofficial” ally.

Chinese diplomat Li Kexin issued the invasion threat at a Chinese Embassy event in Washington, D.C., this month, according to Chinese media reports, apparently in response to the latest U.S. Defense Authorization Act. A provision in the act, adopted by Congress in September, authorizes mutual naval vessel visits between the U.S. and Taiwan. The contested island, considered by the People’s Republic of China as a renegade province but by Taiwanese as wholly separate, has long been an important American partner in the Asia-Pacific.

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