President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion.
Asked during a press briefing on Monday in Tokyo whether the US would be willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, Biden said “yes — it’s a commitment we made.”
“We agree with the One-China policy, we signed onto it and all the attendant agreements made from there,” Biden added. “But the idea that it could be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not — it’s just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
At the same time, Biden said that US policy toward Taiwan “has not changed at all.” A White House spokeswoman repeated that comment after Biden’s remarks, saying the president reiterated “our One China Policy” and “our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”
Asked if Biden meant the US would now be sending US troops over to defend Taiwan in addition to selling weapons to the island, the spokeswoman declined to share any more details.
The US has long sought to maintain “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, a policy intended to minimize the risk of a direct conflict with China, which claims the separately governed island as part of its territory despite never controlling it.
Biden’s comments are likely to further anger Beijing, which has warned the US repeatedly over its increased support for Taiwan.
“If the US side insists on playing the Taiwan card and goes further and further down the wrong road, it will certainly lead to a dangerous situation,” Yang Jiechi, Beijing’s top diplomat, said in a phone call with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Since taking office, Biden has repeatedly used language about Taiwan that appears to change longstanding US policy. Last year, Biden or his aides needed to clarify his remarks on Taiwan on at least four separate occasions, including his description of the island as “independent” — China’s oft-stated red line for an invasion.- Bloomberg