Tensions are reaching a breaking point.
During a TV interview on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, expressed his willingness to have American troops stationed in Taiwan to protect it against possible aggression from China.
In transcript provided by Newsmax, Graham stated, “So, the question for the Congress: Should we have a defense agreement with the island of Taiwan? We don’t — should we have one? But yes, I’d be very much open to using U.S. forces to defend Taiwan, because it’s in our national security interest to do so.”
China has pledged to take “firm and forceful” actions to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity following a meeting in California on Wednesday between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.
“We will take resolute measures to punish the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions, and resolutely safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office explained.
China has previously issued threats of retaliation over meetings between Taiwanese and American officials, making this latest incident not the first of its kind.
In August 2022, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, visited Taiwan as part of her tour of the Pacific, sparking a strong reaction from Beijing.
According to CNN, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the visit by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August 2022 “seriously undermines peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and sends a negative message to those advocating for Taiwanese independence. The statement further condemned the visit, and Beijing lodged a strong protest with the United States.
In May 2022, the State Department provided clarification on the “one China” policy, which governs the relationship between China and Taiwan, prior to the visit by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Graham addressed this and said, “I believe in a one China policy, but I would be willing to fight for Taiwan because Taiwan is a democracy. We stood with them for decades. So, I would up our game and if you don’t up your game now you are going to have a war.”