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Joe Biden vs China: US president-elect issued dire warning as Taiwan tinderbox smoulders

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A Japanese defence official has urged Mr Biden to pledge his support for Taiwan in the face of China’s aggression. State Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama said: “We are concerned China will expand its aggressive stance into areas other than Hong Kong. I think one of the next targets, or what everyone is worried about, is Taiwan.”

Mr Nakayama asked Mr Biden to boost military sales to Taiwan, a move first adopted by outgoing president Donald Trump.

However, Tokyo still maintains the “one China” policy demanded by Beijing.

This is part of Japan’s delicate balancing of its relationship with China.

But, in foreign policy terms, Japan maintains many strategic interests with Taiwan.

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Much of Japanese trade vessels move on the sea lanes between Taiwan and China and the country also is reliant on trade routes through the South China Sea.

Beijing is currently claiming the whole of the South China Sea as its own maritime territory, a move that could be used to cut off trade to Taiwan and Japan.

Mr Nakayama hit out at Mr Biden’s lack of “clear policy” towards China’s ambitions for Taiwan.

He said: “So far, I haven’t yet seen a clear policy or an announcement on Taiwan from Joe Biden.

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“I would like to hear it quickly, then we can also prepare our response on Taiwan in accordance.”

Mr Biden called for strengthening the allegiance between Japan and Taiwan and other “like-minded democracies”.

In the past, Mr Biden has questioned whether the United States had an “obligation” to defend Taiwan.

But China is not conducting a more authoritarian stance under the leadership of Xi Jinping.

China has become more assertive and sought to shape global institutions.

Mr Biden’s transition team has said that the US support for Taiwan “must remain strong, principled, and bipartisan.”

The official added: “Once in office, he will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.

“These will be consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.”

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