Clueless Joe Biden and the “Taiwan Agreement”

Last night, Joe Biden addressed the growing tension between Red China and Taiwan that Red China sparked with its aggressive military moves and gestures. Biden said:

I’ve spoken with [Chinese ruler] Xi about Taiwan. We agree, we will abide by the Taiwan agreement. That’s where we are and I made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.

Sounds okay. China should abide by its agreements.

Jimmy Quinn points to a problem, though. There is no Taiwan agreement:

China experts were vexed by Biden’s comments for one simple reason: There is no “Taiwan agreement” with Beijing. The U.S. does adhere to a One China policy, according to which it acknowledges that the People’s Republic claims Taiwan as part of its territory, but Washington does not recognize the Chinese claim.

The U.S. One China policy is based, in addition to a number of other statements and legislation, on a series of communiques issued with Beijing in which Washington offers up this careful language. This is, however, different from any sort of agreement with China.

It looks, therefore, like Biden once again doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

But maybe Biden was referring to a secret agreement. If so, he blundered badly by violating its secrecy. However, Quinn very much doubts the existence of a secret Taiwan agreement. He calls this an “extraordinary possibility.”

Referring to a non-existent Taiwan agreement plays into China’s hands. Quinn explains that the Chinese Communist Party packages its claim over Taiwan as a “One China principle,” to which it attempts to hold the rest of the world, including the United States. It falsely conflates U.S. policy with China’s claims as part of its efforts to confuse foreigners into adhering to Beijing’s line.

By speaking of a Taiwan agreement, Biden adds to the confusion, at best. At worst, he reinforces China’s claim that the U.S. agrees with the One China principle.

Quinn admonishes:

The Taiwan portfolio is one where precise diplomatic terminology matters more than most, as leaders need to be capable of cutting through this thicket of Chinese obfuscation. Referring to an evidently nonexistent “Taiwan agreement” muddies the waters at a time when the U.S. position needs to be crystal clear.

Biden doesn’t do crystal clear, except perhaps when he’s lying.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Biden doesn’t know the ins-and-outs of China policy. As John Kerry revealed, Biden was clueless when the new AUKUS nuclear-submarine deal cratered U.S.–French relationship. He was also clueless, or maybe just indifferent, to the dangers posed by the pullout from Afghanistan.

The world is a dangerous place. Clueless doesn’t cut it in a U.S. president. Biden’s cluelessness makes the world all the more dangerous.