Baltimore (Trends Wide) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States is committed to coming to the defense of Taiwan in the face of a possible attack by China, a stance that appears to run counter to the US’s declared policy of “strategic ambiguity.”
Biden’s words elicited appreciation from the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs but also China’s warning to the United States not to send “any wrong signal to the separatist forces for Taiwanese independence.”
When asked twice during the Trends Wide forum whether the US would protect Taiwan if China attacks, Biden said it would.
“Yes, we are committed to doing so,” he said.
Biden made similar statements in the past, only for the White House to say that long-standing American policy had not changed toward the island. The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been intentionally ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.
Under the “one China” policy, the United States recognizes China’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. In recent weeks, Beijing sent dozens of warplanes near Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), and Chinese President Xi Jinping said “reunification” between China and Taiwan was inevitable.
A White House official tried to clarify Biden’s comments on Taiwan after the forum. He said the president “was not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy” in his comments on China and Taiwan.
Following Biden’s words, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday warned the United States not to send “any wrong signal to the separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.”
“China urges the US to strictly abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the Three China-US Joint Communiqués, to be cautious in its words and actions on the Taiwan issue, and to refrain from sending any wrong signal to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, so as not to seriously damage China-US relations, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, “said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin , at a regular briefing in Beijing this Friday.
The United States supplies Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been intentionally vague about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese offensive.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The Taiwan issue is purely China’s internal affair, and no foreign or foreign interference is tolerated,” Wang told reporters.
“On issues that affect China’s fundamental interests, such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise. No one should underestimate the determination of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity or oppose them. 1.4 billion Chinese, “he added.
Taiwan thanks Biden and says it will defend its democracy and freedom
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan thanked Joe Biden for his statements regarding the United States’ commitment to protect the autonomous island from an eventual attack by China.
“Our government will continue to strengthen our self-defense capabilities to fully defend Taiwan’s democracy … national security and the well-being of the people,” a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.
Trends Wide’s Eric Cheung, Caitlin McGee, and Hannah Ritchie contributed to this report.