A White House official said Biden’s comments did not reflect a shift in policy for the United States, a point echoed more forcefully by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was asked by reporters if Biden’s response Biden was indicating that the United States would do more to help Taiwan than it has done to help. Ukraine and whether the United States would commit to sending troops to help Taiwan in the event of an invasion.
“As the president said, our one-China policy has not changed,” Austin told the Pentagon. “He reiterated this policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also underscored our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to help provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself. So, again, our policy is not changed.
But Biden’s words drew a strong backlash from mainland China, which claimed Taiwan was a rogue province.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed “strong displeasure and resolute opposition” to Biden’s comments. “China has no room for compromise or concessions on issues involving China’s core interests such as sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He added, “China will take firm measures to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests, and we will do as we say.”
Speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden said any effort by China to use force against Taiwan would “simply not be appropriate”, adding that it would “disrupt the whole region and be another similar action.” to what happened in Ukraine”.
China has intensified its military provocations against democratic Taiwan in recent years, aimed at intimidating it into accepting Beijing’s demands to unite with the communist mainland.
“They’re already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers that are being undertaken,” Biden said of China.
Under the “One China” policy, the United States recognizes Beijing as the government of China and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, the United States maintains unofficial contacts, including a de facto embassy in Taipei, the capital, and provides military equipment for the defense of the island.
Biden said he “expects” China won’t try to take over Taiwan by force, but he also said “it depends on how hard the world makes it clear that this type of action will lead to long-term disapproval by the rest of the community.
He added that deterring China from attacking Taiwan was one of the reasons why it is important that Russian President Vladimir Putin “pay a high price for his barbarism in Ukraine”, lest China and other countries do not have the idea that such an action is acceptable.
Wanting no escalation with nuclear-armed Russia, Biden quickly ruled out bringing U.S. forces into direct conflict with Russia. But the United States sent billions of dollars in military assistance that helped Ukraine put up a stronger-than-expected resistance to Russia’s onslaught.
Taipei applauded Biden’s remarks, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou expressing “heartfelt welcome and gratitude.”
“China’s challenge to the security of the Taiwan Strait has caused great concern in the international community,” Ou said. “Taiwan will continue to improve its self-defense capabilities and deepen cooperation with the United States, Japan and other like-minded countries to jointly uphold the security of the Taiwan Strait and the international order based on rules, while promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
It’s not the first time Biden has pledged to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack, followed by administration officials saying there has been no change in US policy. In a CNN town hall in October, Biden was asked about using the U.S. military to defend Taiwan and replied, “Yes, we are committed to doing that.”
Taiwan isn’t the only foreign policy issue the White House has clarified or backtracked on Biden’s comments. When he declared in March that Putin was a war criminal, then-press secretary J en Psaki said the president was “speaking from his heart” even though no legal findings had been made on the matter.
During a March speech in Poland, Biden said of Putin, “This man can’t stay in power.” White House officials rushed to say Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia.
Biden’s latest comments on Taiwan came just before he officially launched a long-awaited Indo-Pacific trade pact that excludes Taiwan.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on Sunday that Taiwan is not among the signatory governments to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which aims to allow the United States to work more closely with major Asian economies. on issues such as supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anti-corruption.
The inclusion of Taiwan would have upset China.
Sullivan said the United States wants to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan on a one-to-one basis.
Miller reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.