May 2, 2023
DeSantis says Taiwan a ‘critical interest’ to America, China ‘more powerful’ than Putin and Russia
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently made headlines when he declared that Taiwan is a critical interest to America. This statement comes at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan are at an all-time high, with China claiming sovereignty over the island nation and Taiwan asserting its independence.
DeSantis, who is seen as a rising star in the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate in 2024, made the comments during a speech at the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit in Dallas, Texas. He also took the opportunity to criticize China, calling it more powerful than Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin.
The governor's remarks on Taiwan are significant because they reflect a growing concern among American policymakers about China's aggressive behavior in the Asia-Pacific region. China has been increasing its military presence in the South China Sea, where it has built artificial islands and claimed vast swathes of territory, much to the chagrin of its neighbors.
Taiwan, which has been a de facto independent nation since 1949, is seen as a key ally of the United States in the region. The U.S. has long supported Taiwan's democracy and provided it with military aid, much to the ire of China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province that must be reunified with the mainland.
DeSantis's comments on China are also noteworthy because they reflect a growing consensus among American policymakers that China is a more formidable adversary than Russia. While Russia has been accused of meddling in American elections and engaging in cyberattacks, China's economic and military power pose a more significant long-term threat to American interests.
China's Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to expand its influence through infrastructure projects in developing countries, has raised concerns about China's ability to shape the global order in its favor. China's military modernization program, which includes the development of advanced weapons systems such as hypersonic missiles, has also raised alarms in Washington.
DeSantis's remarks on Taiwan and China are likely to resonate with many Americans who are increasingly worried about China's rise and its impact on American interests. As the U.S. continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the question of how to deal with China is likely to remain a key issue in American politics for years to come.