Tensions escalated between the US and China over Taiwan after America's top general, General Mark Milley, said the US military "absolutely" could defend Taiwan from a potential Chinese attack if asked to do so.
Taiwan is an island in East Asia, which has been self ruled since 1950.
The People's Republic of China regards it as a breakaway region that must one day be reunited with the mainland. Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control.
Beijing angered by growing ties between the West and Taiwan
The situation has become very tense since President Tsai Ing-Wen came into power in 2016. She has said Taiwan is independent and not part of China.
The United States and some of its European allies have been expanding their relations with Taiwan, despite Chinese opposition.
The Chinese government has been angered by the growing trade and military ties between the West and Taiwan. In response to the west's growing support for the island, China has been flexing its military muscles in the region.
"US military absolutely could defend Taiwan"
Tensions escalated this week between the US and China over Taiwan, after America's top general’s signal that America stands ready to intervene if a conflict erupts in the region.
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Mark Miley, said the US military absolutely could defend Taiwan from a potential Chinese attack if asked to do so.
How far is the United States really willing to go over Taiwan? Will it be ready to confront another nuclear armed superpower given all the risks and possible costs involved, where success is not guaranteed at all?
This sounds very much like typical political positioning before some sort of a negotiation. The United States certainly does not have any positive interest in making a war over Taiwan, except of course to sell weapons and to spend taxpayers’ money.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said on Thursday that "the negative and erroneous words and deeds of the US related to the Taiwan question have encouraged the blatancy of the Taiwan secessionists".
He also blamed Washington for the increasing tension across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing has reiterated that the issue of Taiwan is a red line that must not be crossed.
European stance on China Taiwan issue
But the West seems determined to challenge China. This week, The European Parliament's first official delegation to the island said Taiwan is not alone and called for measures to bolster EU Taiwan ties.
Beijing condemned the trip urging the European side to correct its mistakes and not send any wrong signals to Taiwan, warning that it will harm China EU relations.
Where does Europe really stand on this issue?
The Europeans are typically following Germany and making supportive sounds in the [sic] support of US foreign policy, but are not prepared to physically become engaged, especially after the debacle in Afghanistan.
So I would suggest that we can call the European comments on this topic 'chatter on the line'. In other words, background noise that's not critical to the situation.
China unlikely to back down on regarding Taiwan
The EU seems to be following policies close to those of the US. The West knows all too well that China is highly unlikely to back down on the issue of Taiwan.
Why then is it being so provocative? Is it trying to create a conflict in the region close to China's borders?
The US has been selling many billions of dollars worth of weapons to the self ruled Island and US President Joe Biden has made no secret of his priority to contain China's influence.
This leaves little doubt that Taiwan will remain a very serious bone of contention between the two sides for years to come.