Biden says US would defend Taiwan in case of Chinese invasion
US President Joe Biden has claimed that US troops would defend Taiwan if the island were attacked by China, a statement likely to provoke Beijing’s ire again.
Asked on CBS if “Americans would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion,” the American leader replied, “Yes, if an unprecedented attack took place.”
However, when asked by AFP, a White House spokesman Sunday night reiterated that US policy toward Taiwan “has not changed.”
China considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces that it has not successfully reunified with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the ROC — the regime that once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.
During his interview, the President of the United States also emphasized that he does not “encourage” the island to declare its formal independence. “It’s her decision,” he said.
Joe Biden had already angered Beijing in late May when he said the United States would intervene militarily to support Taiwan in the event of an invasion by communist China. He then backtracked and reiterated his attachment to “strategic ambiguity.”
– “Chinese Unique” –
This intentionally vague concept, which has guided Washington’s Taiwan policy for decades, is that the United States does not say whether it would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion. As a result, a certain stability has been maintained in the region so far.
Washington also operates a “one China policy”: The United States officially recognizes only one Chinese government, namely that of Beijing.
But at the same time they are wary of supporting Beijing’s position that Taiwan is an inalienable part of a single China that will one day be reunited. The United States believes it is up to Beijing and Taipei to find a solution, but opposes any use of force to change the status quo.
“We agree to what we signed a long time ago,” Joe Biden said during his interview.
But Mr Biden’s comments come after a significant rapprochement between the United States and Taiwan, at a time when relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest in decades.
A bill providing for the first direct US military aid to Taiwan passed a crucial stage in the US Congress on Wednesday. A few days earlier, Washington had announced the sale of weapons to Taipei for $1.1 billion.
A visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Beijing in early August also angered. China then launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around the island.
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