In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on US television’s ’60 Minutes’, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was asked yesterday how he would react were China to take military action against Taiwan.
His brief response has been taken as largely non-committal in the island nation with the majority of online pundits less than impressed with his somewhat glib single sentence answer”That’s something, yeah, (I) mean I think we have got to make it clear to countries around the world that we will not sit by and allow invasions to take place, absolutely.”
In the Democratic candidate sidestepping any direct mention of Taiwan he did say that his criteria in employing the US military boils down to “Threats against the American people, to be sure. Threats against our allies.”
On whether or not he sees Taiwan as an ally, the jury is out.
Sanders has never been openly pro-Taiwan despite seeming to support Tibet in its own trials with Beijing, and whilst serving as a member of the US Congress voted twice against bills on security issues related to Taiwan: the first a Missile Defense Cooperation bill in 1997, in addition to a bill to sell F-16s to Taiwan in 2011.
Seen as one of the favorites in the Democratic Party’s ongoing bid to choose a candidate to go head-to-head with President Donald Trump in November’s election, the 78 year old Vermont senator is still seen as a little too far left for large numbers of Democratic voters.