World War 3: Joe Biden poised for Taiwan struggle sparking China conflict fears

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Incumbent US President Donald Trump ripped apart decades of ingrained foreign policy as he looked to back Taiwan in its bitter row with Beijing. Tensions between China and the US remain fraught, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision last week, to drop all protocol regarding communication with Taiwan, infuriated Beijing further. China demanded the US stop meddling in its domestic affairs, while Mr Pompeo maintained Washington would continue its support for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing argues that Taiwan should be reunited with China, a move vehemently opposed by those, including Ms Ing-wen, on the island.

And according to Ross Feingold, director of business development at security firm SafePro Group, Mr Biden is set to find difficulties with juggling Taiwan and Chinese policy.

He said: “The Biden administration is certainly going to struggle with the conduct of relations with Taiwan.

“Over the past four years, the Trump administration has taken many steps to really engage with Taiwan in the same way that the United States would engage with other foreign countries even if they’re still not using the terminology or having formal diplomatic relations.”

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Despite fears Mr Biden may ease policy in the escalating row, Mr Feingold told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia that he could actually continue with the aggressive rhetoric set by Mr Trump, adding: “The enthusiasm for new or bold additional moves might be different, or non-existent.”

This row has sparked fears of a brutal war between China and the US, two nations that have seen their relationship bitterly sour over the past few decades.

Mr Pompeo confirmed that the US would lift all “self-imposed restrictions” in relations with Taiwan, an island claimed by China as a territory but self-ruled.

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He explained that for several decades the US and Taiwan had limited contact with the island “as an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing”.

However, he added that restriction would no longer apply.

The move saw China immediately hit back, with Zhao Lijian, a spokesman from the Chinese foreign ministry, confirming the country would take action.

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The nations have previously traded blows over Taiwan, with Beijing patrolling the waters of the island, which is formed within the South China Sea.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin told the Australian broadcaster this week that Mr Pompeo’s decision “could mark the end of the one China policy”, which is a primary principle that recognises there is only one Chinese government.

He said: “That has been the mainstay of strategic stability for the last 40 years or so.

“I think we need to understand that we are moving to the end of the ‘one China policy.’ And what does that mean for markets? What does that mean for the international community?

“It means a new period of real strategic instability given this is a fundamental item of faith in Beijing.”

China, Taiwan and the US are also embroiled in a dispute over the South China Sea, highly lucrative waters – dubbed the world’s richest.

China asserts sovereignty to them, a claim disputed by the US and Beijing’s nearby rivals.

Fears of conflict between the nations have continued, with major players in the waters ramping up their military presence.

Experts such as Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro, from Georgetown University, are concerned that the heightened military power in the region will one day lead to accidental conflict.

She told the Council of Foreign Relations this year: “I think there are some factors that show if China cannot achieve its goals, de facto control of the South China waters, it could escalate.

“The US could act more assertively, leading to aggression on the part of China.

“It’s possible that China will come to the conclusion that the diplomatic way of dealing with the situation isn’t working.

“Couple that with new power projection capabilities, military power for the first time… lastly, you could see China taking military action, such as seizing islands of kinetic action against US vessels in the South China Sea waters.”

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