China-US tensions on Taiwan: Singapore PM warns of ‘miscalculation’ – whats next?

Biden says US would come to Taiwan’s defence if China invaded

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Recently, both China and the US have increased their engagement with Taiwan. On Monday, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping spoke about a number of key issues, including Taiwan. Now, Singapore’s PM, Lee Hsien Loong, fears tensions could boil over as both countries attempt to exert their influence on the situation.

In recent months the US has stepped up its level of engagement with Taiwan, with whom it has pledged to help to defend itself in the event of an attack.

China, though, views the self-ruled island as a breakaway province that will eventually be reunified with the mainland.

Last month, Taiwan officials reported that a record 38 Chinese military jets crossed into the island’s defence zone.

It’s believed the show of force was exerted to mark the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

As activity from both China and the US continues to increase it has prompted Singapore’s Prime Minister to issue a warning to the global community.

Yesterday, in an interview with Bloomberg, Lee Hsien Loong stated that “we should be concerned”.

Mr Lee said: “I don’t think it’s going to war overnight, but it is in a situation where you can have a mishap or a miscalculation and be in a very delicate situation.

“All these moves raise suspicions and tensions and anxieties and make it more likely that a mishap or miscalculation can happen.”

In a separate interview, on Thursday, Singapore’s Foreign Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, said “the probability of an actual conflict is low” between China and Taiwan.

Mr Balakrishnan added Taiwan is an issue everyone needs to be concerned about.

He said: “The real risk is either an accident or a miscalculation, and the more there’s engagement, there’s talk, there’s discussion, and there’s hopefully a meeting of minds. I think that lowers the risk considerably.”

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Mr Lee’s comments come just days after both US and Chinese Presidents held a virtual summit, which lasted for three and a half hours.

During the talks, both leaders addressed a number of issues such as human rights abuses, trade and climate change.

However, top of the list was the subject of Taiwan which has been a cause for growing tension between the two powers.

Taiwan has frequently attested its independence from the PRC, despite China dismissing any notion of this and warning the US from encouraging those who seek a full break from the mainland.

How are China and Taiwan connected?

China assumed control of Taiwan after World War 2, when Japan relinquished control of territory it had originally taken from China.

However, civil war broke out in China soon afterwards. Having lost the war, then Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan with his followers.

For several decades the island was effectively ruled by a dictatorship until Mr Chiang’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, assumed control and started the process of democratising Taiwan.

Beijing has always maintained Taiwan’s government is illegitimate and plans to one day return the autonomy of the island to the PRC.

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