- The US president said they would intervene in the Chinese conflict in the event of “an unprecedented attack”.
US President Joe Biden said on Sunday US forces would defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, while the White House said Washington’s policy had not changed.
Asked on the CBS network’s “60 Minutes” if US troops would defend Taiwan, Biden said “yes” in the event of “an unprecedented attack.”
It is not the first time that Biden has said that US forces would be involved in an eventual war between China and Taiwan, and the White House appears to back down from his comments. The previous time was in May during a visit to Japan.
Washington severed formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, recognizing Beijing as the sole representative of China, which later became a major trading partner. But at the same time, the United States maintained a decisive, if sometimes delicate, role in supporting Taiwan.
By a law passed by Congress, the United States is required to sell Taiwan military supplies to ensure its self-defense against Beijing’s much larger armed forces.
Yet Washington maintains what is officially called “strategic ambiguity” about whether it would intervene militarily. That policy is designed both to prevent a Chinese invasion and to deter Taiwan from provoking Beijing by declaring independence.
Asked if Biden’s latest statement meant a change in that strategic ambiguity, a White House spokesman said: “The president has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier in the year. He also made it clear then that our policy towards Taiwan has not changed. That is still true.”
Following his statement in Tokyo that “yes” US forces would be involved, Biden was later asked if the concept of strategic ambiguity was dead, and he replied “no.”
Every time Biden has raised the possibility of US troops fighting to protect Taiwan, China has reacted furiously.