Saturday, April 1, 2023

Biden says the US military would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion

By David Brunnstrom and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 – US President Joe Biden said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, in his most outspoken statement yet on the matter.

Asked in an interview broadcast by CBS’s 60 Concerns on Sunday whether US forces would defend the democratically-administered islands claimed by China, he replied: “Yes, if indeed there was an unprecedented attack.”

Asked to clarify whether, unlike in Ukraine, US soldiers – men and women – would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, Biden replied: “Yes.”

The conversation adds to the other occasions when Biden appeared to go beyond traditional U.S. channels in Taiwan, but his stance was clearer than previous ones about U.S. forces defending the island.

The United States has long maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” and has not made clear whether it would respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan.

Asked for comment, a White House spokesman said US policy against Taiwan had changed.

“The president said this before, even in Tokyo earlier this year. He also declared then that our policy towards Taiwan has not changed. That remains true, the spokesman said.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked Biden for the confirmation that “the US government has taken firm security measures for Taiwan.”

Taiwan continues to strengthen its self-defense capability and deepen the close security partnership between Taiwan and the United States, he said in a statement.

The CBS interview with Biden took place last week. The president is in the UK to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.

In May, when Biden was asked if he wanted to defend Taiwan militarily, he replied: “Yes, (…) that’s the job we’re doing.”

During the 60-minute interview, Biden reiterated that the United States was committed to a “one China” strategy, in which Washington officially recognized Beijing and not Taipei, and said the United States would not promote Taiwanese independence.

“We are not moving, we are not encouraging freedom, (…) that is the plan,” he said.

Biden is said to be likely to inflame Beijing, which was angered by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

The visit prompted China to conduct its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan and Beijing, protesting that US lawmakers are promoting legislation that would increase US military aid to Taiwan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control and not control the use of force. Taiwan strongly resists China’s claims of domination.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a phone call with Biden in July, Xi warned against Taiwan, saying “those who play with fire will perish with it.”

Asked last October if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan, which is required by law in the United States to defend resources, Biden said: “Yes, we have to do this.”

At the time, a White House spokesman also said that Biden had not announced any changes in the US policy.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the U.S.-based Marshall Fund, said that if Biden makes such promises, he will take them back.

“If President Biden plans to defend Taiwan, then he should study the US military’s ability to do so,” he said. “Rhetorical support that is not supported by actual resources is unlikely to strengthen deterrence.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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