WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Joe Biden said the U.S. military would come to Taiwan’s defense if China starts an invasion.
- “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said Monday during a joint conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
- A White House official seemed to walk back Biden’s statement shortly after the president’s declaration.
President Joe Biden said that the United States would be willing to intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan. Biden’s declaration sparked confusion over America’s policy in the region.
Biden said Monday that China was already “flirting with danger” with its latest move to hold military drills near Taiwan. China views the self-governing island as its own territory — a breakaway region.
The question came up during a news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons,” a reporter asked Biden. “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”
“Yes,” the U.S. president responded. “That’s the commitment we made.”
A White House official seemed to walk back Biden’s comments shortly after his declaration that the U.S could intervene militarily.
“As the President said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China Policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the WH official said. “He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”
According to Reuters, China’s foreign ministry said the U.S. should not defend Taiwan’s independence.
Biden has made similar comments about Taiwan in the past that prompted confusion.
The United States is required by law to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons. However, according to a long-time policy of “strategic ambiguity,” it is not clear what exactly the U.S. would do if the democratically governed Taiwan was attacked.
Biden reiterated Monday that Washington’s “policy toward Taiwan” had “not changed at all.”
The president added that the U.S. will continue to act in line with the One China policy, which recognizes Washington’s formal relationship with Beijing.
“We remain committed to supporting the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and ensuring there’s no unilateral change to the status quo,” Biden said.
The U.S. does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, according to the One China policy, but it still has an unofficial embassy on the island.
Source: NBC News