The Trump administration has been more supportive of Taiwan’s ruling government than previous administrations, a shift driven by White House officials with strong feelings on the issue, but the president himself may not be entirely on board.
A faction in the administration led by national security adviser John Bolton has been urging President Donald Trump to push the envelope by taking actions such as sending warships through the Taiwan Strait. But Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have both advocated more caution, according to a report from Bloomberg, which cited one current and one former administration official.
Nevertheless, the actions already taken by the White House, including the signing of the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages travel to Taiwan by cabinet-level officials, as well as recent arms sales, have provoked Beijing’s ire.
China has gone so far as to say that the actions violate a pillar of US-China relations.
“The US side recently took a string of wrong actions on the Taiwan issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a press conference on Monday. “Such acts have severely violated the one-China principle.”
Despite the increased friction surrounding the Taiwan issue, which has often been the center of controversy only to recede into the background, many analysts are still confident that the consequences of war are a sufficient deterrent to either side pushing to boundaries too far.