U.S. forces would defend Taiwan if China invaded, President Joe Biden mentioned Sunday, his clearest assertion but on the problem and one that’s prone to infuriate Beijing.
In a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on CBS, Biden was requested whether or not the U.S. would defend Taiwan in opposition to an assault from Beijing, which claims the self-ruling island democracy as its territory.
“Sure, if the truth is there was an unprecedented assault,” he mentioned.
The president mentioned “sure” when he was requested whether or not he meant that, not like in Ukraine, U.S. forces would come to Taiwan’s protection.
It’s not less than the fourth time since final 12 months that Biden has made feedback that seem to change longtime U.S. coverage on Taiwan. Because it established diplomatic relations with China in 1979, the U.S. has acknowledged Beijing as the only real professional authorities of China whereas sustaining unofficial relations with Taiwan.
The U.S. is sure by legislation to offer Taiwan with defensive weapons, nevertheless it has a coverage of “strategic ambiguity” in terms of precisely how it will reply to Chinese language aggression towards the island.
The interview with Biden, who’s in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral Monday, was recorded final week. After it aired, a White Home spokesperson mentioned U.S. coverage on Taiwan remained unchanged.
“The president has mentioned this earlier than, together with in Tokyo earlier this 12 months,” the spokesperson mentioned, referring to feedback Biden made in Could. “He additionally made clear then that our Taiwan coverage hasn’t modified. That is still true.”
Biden mentioned within the “60 Minutes” interview that the U.S. nonetheless agreed with the One China coverage and that Taiwan ought to decide its personal future.
“We’re not encouraging their being unbiased,” he mentioned. “That’s their determination.”
Nonetheless, the president’s feedback are probably to attract ire from Beijing, which responded with unprecedented live-fire drills round Taiwan after Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited the island final month. Her go to to Taiwan has drawn probably the most consideration amid an uptick this 12 months in journeys by U.S. congressional delegations pledging their assist.
Chinese language President Xi Jinping, who has not dominated out using pressure in attaining his purpose of “reunification” with Taiwan, has warned Biden in opposition to any change to U.S. coverage on the island, most not too long ago throughout a name in July.
Some U.S. lawmakers have been pushing for a extra aggressive coverage on Taiwan, with a Senate panel final week approving laws that may drastically improve U.S. defensive assist. A Chinese language International Ministry spokesperson criticized the invoice as a violation of the One China coverage and mentioned it will “trigger extraordinarily critical penalties to China-U.S. relations.”
Taiwan, which is about 100 miles off China, has by no means been dominated by the Chinese language Communist Occasion. However China claimed sovereignty over the island after Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists, having been defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces in China’s civil warfare, fled there in 1949 and established a rival authorities.
Kelly O’Donnell contributed.