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South China Sea: US has 'significant interest' in Taiwan – Biden wants to maintain status


South China Sea expert Drew Thompson from the Lee Kuan School of Public Policy has said US President Joe Biden has a “significant interest” in keeping Taiwan democratic amid fears China sees the country as a breakaway province. China has showcased increasingly hostile behaviour towards Taiwan, with whom tensions have been high since the creation of the Republic of China in 1949. Beijing has repeatedly complained about United States Navy ships getting close to islands it occupies in the South China Sea, where Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan all also have competing claims.

Mr Thompson told the Chinese show Liberated Panda: “The US has a pretty significant interest in Taiwan.

“They want to maintain a status quo that includes a free, open, democratic Taiwan.

“If you think about how some countries feel that trade constraints their foreign policy choices when it comes to China because they’re such a large trading partner.

“It’s worth noting that Taiwan is the US’ tenth largest trading partner and important part of US supply chains.”

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It comes as Australian senator Jim Molan explained the country can deploy a significant force in the South China Sea to stop any conflict between Taiwan and China.

He said there is a “high probability” of deterrence before an attack is made.

But Mr Molan added the US would be in a better position to act as a deterrent.

Speaking to Sky News Australia, Senator Molan said: “I think an attack by China across the straits into Taiwan.

Senator Molan went on to say while conflict is not inevitable, countries are armed and ready.

He added: “There is a concern it might happen sooner rather than later.

“For example, I say that such a scenario is certainly possible because everyone is armed.

“I say that it’s likely because not only are people armed but certain parties particularly China have been very aggressive and are arming themselves even more.

“But I don’t say it’s inevitable and that’s very important. We’ve got to remain positive in this.”

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