As China avoids condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the US is bolstering its support for Taiwan

As China avoids condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the US is bolstering its support for Taiwan
A composite image of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.Xinhua/Ju Peng via Getty Images, Sergei Guneyev/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
  • China appears unwilling to criticize Russia over Ukraine and said it opposed Western sanctions.
  • Biden sent a delegation of former US officials to Taiwan after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The US bolstered its support for Taiwan in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and China's apparent refusal to condemn it.

A delegation of former US officials, sent by President Joe Biden, met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Wednesday, with retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying the US "will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo."

China has long claimed the island nation of Taiwan, which has been self-ruling for decades, as part of its territory.

In recent months, China amped up its threats to engage in military conflict if Taiwan continued to assert its independence. China has in recent years pressured multiple countries to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan as well.

"The attempt by the US to show support to Taiwan will be in vain, no matter who the US sends," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.


"The Chinese people are firmly determined and resolved to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Biden dispatched the delegation to Taipei following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which China is yet to condemn.

China avoids condemning Russia over Ukraine

China appears to be distancing itself from Russia over Ukraine, and has avoided outright condemnation.

On Monday, Wang told reporters that China and Russia were "comprehensive strategic partners of coordination" — a notable change from the Chinese foreign ministry's announcement just last year that the two countries were "better than allies."

That being said, China appears keen to avoid angering Russia over Ukraine.


In the run-up to the invasion, the Chinese foreign ministry blamed the US for provoking Russia and, on Wednesday, Wang refused to say whether China considered Russia's actions an "invasion."

China has also said it opposes the sanctions on Russian entities and individuals introduced by the US, UK, and EU.

China and Russia have long had strong political and economic ties, but Beijing may have an ulterior reason to avoid condemning the Ukraine invasion.

A top Chinese state media editor wrote on WeChat last week that it was in China's interests to support Russia over Ukraine, as Beijing will need Moscow's support when it wants to force its hand on Taiwan independence.

"In the future, China will also need Russia's understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all," wrote Ming Jinwei, a senior editor at the state-run Xinhua news agency.


Many Taiwanese people live in fear of a Chinese invasion and in recent days the slogan "Today, Ukraine, tomorrow, Taiwan!" has spread widely across their social media, The New York Times reported.

However, there has been some public opposition to the invasion of Ukraine inside China.

On Monday, five professors from top Chinese universities wrote an open letter condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, marking a rare departure from China's pro-Russian online sentiment.

"As a country that was once also ravaged by war ... we sympathize with the suffering of the Ukrainian people," they wrote.