President Joe Biden has stated that the United States would protect Taiwan if China invaded.

President Joe Biden has stated that the United States would protect Taiwan if China invaded.

President Joe Biden has stated that the United States would protect Taiwan if China invaded.
US President Joe Biden has stated unequivocally that US soldiers will defend Taiwan. (AP: Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden stated the US would protect Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion, prompting a furious response from China, which said it sent the wrong signal to those seeking independence for Taiwan.

When asked whether American military would protect the democratically ruled island claimed by China in a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr Biden made his most emphatic stance yet on the matter, saying, "Yes, if there was an extraordinary invasion."

When asked if he meant that, unlike in Ukraine, US military – American men and women — would protect Taiwan if China invaded, Mr Biden said, "Yes."

The CBS interview was only the latest instance in which the President appeared to deviate from long-standing US policy on Taiwan, which depends on "strategic ambiguity" and does not specify whether the US would respond militarily to a Chinese attack on the island.

However, this remark was more direct than earlier ones on the deployment of US soldiers.

YOUTUBE President Biden on Taiwan | 60 Minutes

When asked for reaction, a White House official stated that the United States' stance toward Taiwan had not changed, adding that the President had made similar remarks in Tokyo earlier this year and had "also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn't changed."

However, White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell stated that it was incorrect to claim the White House was "walking back" the President's remarks.

Mr Campbell, who has previously argued that any move toward strategic clarity on Taiwan would have severe negative consequences, said the President's statements "spoke for themselves."

"I believe our policy has been consistent, unaltered, and will remain," Mr Campbell added.

Beijing claims that the President's remarks convey a "very inappropriate signal."

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning, Mr. Biden's remarks conveyed a "very erroneous signal" to separatist groups seeking Taiwan independence.

China was "seriously displeased and resolutely opposed" to Mr Biden's remarks and has registered a formal complaint, she added, stressing that China retained the right to take all necessary counter-separatist actions.

After a civil war that concluded with the Communist Party in power of the mainland, Taiwan and China divided in 1949.

The two governments claim to be one country, but they disagree on who should be the national leader.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has threatened to seize control of Taiwan and has not ruled out the use of force.

Taiwan's foreign ministry thanked the President for reiterating the "US government's rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan."

Taiwan would continue to develop its self-defense capabilities and extend the strong security collaboration between Taiwan and the United States, according to a statement from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The US is bound by law to give Taiwan with the tools to defend itself, yet it merely maintains informal diplomatic ties with the island.

Biden must guarantee that his words are backed up with action: Asia specialist

Mr Biden underlined the US's commitment to a "one-China" policy in which Washington formally recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei in the 60 Minutes interview, which aired last week, and stressed the US was not pushing Taiwanese independence.

"We're not relocating, we're not supporting their independence... that's their decision," he explained.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said Mr. Biden needed to be sure he could back up his promises.

"If President Biden intends to defend Taiwan, he should ensure that the US military is capable of doing so," she added.

"Rhetorical support without tangible capability is unlikely to improve deterrence." 

Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url