After President Biden affirmed that the United States would protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack, the White House clarified that the President was not announcing a shift in U.S. policy, which is purposefully left ambiguous.
When asked why Taiwan was such a pressing issue for China, Mastro indicated that "there's political, social, and emotional components...the emotional component has to do with the fact that the Communist Party won the Civil War in 1949, the nationalists fled to Taiwan, and that war is not over until Taiwan becomes part of China." They believe that their "national rejuvenation cannot be complete until the seven decades-long civil war comes to an end."
"If you had asked me four years ago what is the likelihood that China would attack Taiwan I would have put it at zero percent, and now I put it at 60 percent, and that is largely because Deng Xiaoping had to kick the can down the road because he didn't have a lot of options, and then they decided to build their economy so they had the economic power base, and then under Xi Jinping they really accelerated the military modernization," said Mastro.
In the intervew, Mastro, Haass, and Zakaria also discuss the economic and diplomatic risks that China would face should the nation attempt to invade Taiwan.