The Chinese government was emboldened by Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent trip to China which was an ill-advised plan where the United States did not project strength and handed China a diplomatic win, according to two foreign policy experts who spoke with Fox News Digital.
“Antony Blinken, effectively, threw Taiwan under the bus,” former U.S. Defense Intelligence Officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Digital in response to Blinken’s Monday comment in China that the United States “does not support Taiwan independence.”
“His statement about the U.S. not supporting Taiwan is an invitation to Beijing to execute its long-held ambition of establishing control over the self-governing island,” Kofffler said. “Xi Jinping will almost certainly be emboldened by Blinken’s announcement to invade Taiwan. Although it was Xi’s plan regardless, now Beijing will feel more confident that Washington will not even put up a major fight and assist Taipei.”
Koffler explained her belief that Blinken’s blunt comment “singlehandedly removed the ‘strategic ambiguity’ component, on which U.S. policy has relied for decades, to keep China uncertain and guessing what the U.S. would do in response to a potential attack on Taiwan by Beijing.”
“President Biden and his team are simply not up to the task when it comes to international affairs, especially when dealing with someone like Xi, Putin, and other astute and calculating strategic opponents,” Koffler, author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” said. “This careless statement sends a terrible message to both US adversaries and allies.”
Retired Army Colonel Heino Klinck, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia during the Trump Administration, told Fox News Digital it is a “positive” Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jingping, but he would not have made the trip “unless there was a deliverable.”
“I am not sure there was, at least not for the U.S.,” Klinck said. “The optics of State being lectured in Beijing is not good. In fact, the seating arrangement in the Great Hall of the People with Xi at the head of the table was demeaning.”
Klinck acknowledged “a lot remains to be seen” and it’s possible some good comes from the meeting but said it was telling that Blinken’s reiteration of longstanding U.S. policy did not come with any public concession from China.
“The secretary’s proforma recital of well known U.S. policy should have been accompanied by a Chinese statement renouncing the unilateral change of status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” Klinck said. “Unfortunately and not unexpectedly, this reciprocal act did not occur because the Chinese don’t really believe in reciprocity. They tend to favor concessions and compromises made to or for them. That underscores the irony of the Chinese mantra of win-win in bilateral affairs as, in reality, that means that the Chinese win twice.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
Blinken faced online backlash over this comment on Monday after a trip to China that critics say showed weakness as the two countries continue to navigate increased tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Last week, Taiwan’s air force scrambled fighter jets after a group of 10 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait for the second time in a matter of days.
This month, the U.S. military released video of a close encounter between a Chinese navy ship and an American destroyer in the Taiwan Strait, and there have been several close calls between Chinese and U.S. military aircraft recently, including an air intercept by a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea in late May.
China considers self-ruling Taiwan its own territory and has raised the prospect of annexing it by force. The U.S. maintains informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan even as it recognizes Beijing as the government of China.