Here's a headline to wake up to on a dull Monday morning:
US would defend Taiwan if attacked by China, says Biden. President says US’s responsibility to protect island is ‘even stronger’ after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Blimey. If he isn't immediately made to "walk this back" by his own people (which is what generally happens when Biden's been talking in his sleep again), this is an absolute blockbuster, and will shake the Chinese rigid.
The only offset is the technicality that he paid lip-service to the 'One China' policy - followed, however, by "but".
What a turnaround. Back in February, Xi must have been expecting that Putin's Ukraine gambit (a) would turn out to be a quick win of some sort; and (b) could be parlayed to give China more options - and maybe opportunity - vis-à-vis their own designs upon Taiwan. Make it clear that the USA is a paper tiger, etc. That sanctions don't work. That the RoW doesn't fall in line with the west. That India is with him.
But that would have been based on the notion that China had already secured a satisfactory baseline of non-commitment from the USA. Xi would never have given Putin the thumbs-up otherwise: not in a million years.
If Ukraine's success in dragging Putin into the mire has actually emboldened Biden in this regard (plus giving a fine public demonstration of the efficacy of good defensive weaponry + intelligence + tactics), Xi must wonder if Taiwan is now out of reach in his lifetime.
Actually, of course, that might make things even more dangerous. We're having quite enough of Old (& sick) Men In A Hurry just now.