Walking The Tightrope In Taiwan

What would happen if the people of Taiwan voted to declare independence from China, officially recognizing what has been a practical reality for the past five decades? China's position is unequivocal: It would mean war. But Washington is deliberately vague. If the U.S. says it won't protect Taiwan, Beijing hardliners could interpret that as a green light to invade. If the U.S. says it must intervene, Washington ruins relations with Beijing and could encourage Taiwan to declare independence. By keeping both Beijing and Taipei guessing, it has been able to prevent either side from taking a rash action that would spell disaster.

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