China Cautions U.S. Over Cost of 'Bad Faith' Policy on Taiwan

The Chinese government has accused the United States of acting in "bad faith" for continuing to back Taiwan, after senior American officials continued to draw relevant lessons for Asia from Russia's protracted war in Ukraine.

Adm. Michael Gilday, the U.S. Navy's chief of naval operations, endorsed a strategy of deterrence by denial. He told a think tank event on Tuesday that Taipei, like Kyiv, could put up a credible defense by acquiring the right types of weapons.

"That is a big lesson learned and a wakeup call, particularly with respect to not only having the right kit, but are people trained to use it the right way?" said Gilday, who appeared next to top uniformed officers from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Space Force.

"That shouldn't be lost on us with respect to Taiwan," he said at the forum hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier, Gen. Charles Brown, the Air Force chief of staff, said a conflict in Asia would pose its own unique geographic challenges to U.S. forces in the Pacific: "You're not going to get in there quickly or easily after the bullets begin to fly."

Ukraine's resistance has shown "the will of the smaller nation to fight" will also be a factor, said Brown.

China Protests U.S.'s Taiwan Policy
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin attends a regular press briefing in Beijing on July 24, 2020. Wang accused the U.S. of acting in “bad faith” for its continued support of Taiwan, at a media briefing on May 18, 2022. AFP via Getty Images/GREG BAKER

China, which maintains a decades-long claim to Taiwan despite having never governed the democratic island, said on Wednesday that it "firmly opposes" the U.S. officials' remarks, which China described as interference in its internal affairs.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, went on to accuse the U.S. of contradicting itself by "recognizing Taiwan is a part of China on the one hand, but on the other hand playing up the threat of the mainland's invasion of Taiwan."

"Acting in bad faith will not only harm one's image, but will also incur a corresponding cost," Wang said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. The official said it called into question the seriousness and validity of U.S. commitments to its "one China" policy.

Wang's remarks appeared to be an intentional misreading of the U.S. "one China" policy, which recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China, but only acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China.

Officially, Washington "takes no position on sovereignty over Taiwan," a State Department spokesperson told Newsweek last month, "only that cross-strait issues are resolved peacefully according to the will and best interests of the people on Taiwan."

Wang also protested the State Department's recent decision to remove select language from its website's "fact sheet" about Taiwan, including a line that clarified the U.S. doesn't support Taiwan's independence.

Ned Price, the department's spokesperson, said the changes didn't indicate a shift in U.S. policy on Taiwan. However, his comments suggested the update may have been a response to frequent misinterpretations by Beijing.

"I think we care most about ensuring that our relationships around the world are reflected accurately in our fact sheets. I don't think we're as concerned as to what other countries might latch onto in an effort to create a pretense," Price said at a May 10 press briefing.