Thursday, May 19

Biden Suggests US Will Defend Taiwan Against China, Forcing Further Clarification From The White House | Taiwan


President Joe Biden has said that the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan and was committed to defending the island that China claims as its own, forcing the White House to clarify for the second time in three months that US policy on the issue has not changed.

“Yes, we are committed to doing that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall Thursday night when asked if the United States would come out in defense of Taiwan, which has complained of increasing military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. .

The president made a similar promise in August during an interview with ABC, insisting that the United States will always defend key allies, including Taiwan, despite the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden said then that the United States made a “sacred commitment” to defend NATO allies in Canada and Europe and that it was “the same with Japan, the same with South Korea, the same with Taiwan.”

The White House later told reporters that US policy on Taiwan had not changed.

After town hall on Thursday, a White House spokesman said Biden would not announce any changes in US policy. “The defense relationship of the United States with Taiwan is governed by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the law, continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo, ”the spokesman said.

Biden said that people should not worry about Washington’s military strength because “China, Russia and the rest of the world know that we are the most powerful military in the history of the world.”

“What you do have to worry about is whether or not they are going to participate in activities that would put them in a position where they could make a serious mistake,” he said.

Military tensions between Taiwan and China were at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said this month. China would be able to mount a “full-scale” invasion by 2025, he added.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory, which should be taken by force if necessary, while Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.

Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but has long pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In August, an official in the Biden administration said that US policy on Taiwan had not changed after the president appeared to suggest that the United States would defend the island if attacked.

Biden said Thursday: “I don’t want a cold war with China. I just want China to understand that we are not going to take a step back, that we are not going to change any of our views. “

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States and has denounced what it calls “collusion” between Washington and Taipei. Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said the country was seeking “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and was responding to “separatist attempts” by its ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

“We are not the troublemakers,” he said. “On the contrary, some countries, the United States in particular, are taking dangerous actions, taking the situation in the Taiwan Strait in a dangerous direction … Dragging Taiwan into a war is definitely not in anyone’s interest.”

With Reuters


www.theguardian.com

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