China outraged over Biden's 'commitment' to send America's military to defend Taiwan

Biden’s remarks are a reversal of America’s previously ambiguous stance on the question of Taiwanese sovereignty.

China outraged over Biden's 'commitment' to send America's military to defend Taiwan
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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President Joe Biden on Monday said that the United States intends to intervene militarily in the event that China invades Taiwan, noting that the burden to defend the island nation is “even stronger” following Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.  

Biden’s remarks are a reversal of America’s previously ambiguous stance on the question of Taiwanese sovereignty. China maintains that Taiwan is a breakaway province that it intends to “reunify” with the mainland.

Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo early Monday, Biden fielded questions from the press gallery, and said “yes,” when a journalist asked if he was willing to involve America’s military to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, the Washington Post reported. 

“That’s the commitment we made,” said Biden. 

For decades, the United States has avoided making any explicit guarantees to Taiwanese security for fear of angering China. The policy, known as “strategic ambiguity” has allowed the United States to remain relatively neutral in its diplomatic relations with China. 

Officially, the United States, like many other countries in the United Nations, does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which has driven U.S. policy to Taiwan, does not require the United States to defend Taiwan if China invades. However, the policy enables the United States to provide Taiwan with the necessary resources to defend itself, and to prevent any change of status of the island by the Chinese government in Beijing. 

The Chinese Communist government did not take Biden’s remarks lightly and issued a whole-hearted condemnation. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed the country’s “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to the U.S. president’s remarks, adding that “China has no room for compromise or concessions on issues involving China’s core interests such as sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 

“China will take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests, and we will do what we say,” he warned. 

During the press conference, which Biden held alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden warned that any effort by China to invade Taiwan would “just not be appropriate,” stating that such actions would “dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.” 

“They’re already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers that are undertaken,” said Biden, referring to Chinese expansionism in the region. He added that  although he doesn’t expect China to invade its neighbour by force, he also expects that China’s reluctance to do so “depends upon just how strong the world makes clear that that kind of action is going to result in long-term disapprobation by the rest of the community.” 

Biden told the press that his decision to support Ukraine in its fight to bloody Russian President Vladimir Putin was to make him “pay a dear price for his barbarism in Ukraine,” and do so as a warning to China of the consequences of their military ambitions. 

Following Biden’s remarks, the White House issued a statement backtracking on Biden’s remarks, stating that his comments did not reflect any policy shift for the United States. 

“As the president said our One China policy has not changed,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who insisted that there was no shift in policy in response to queries from reporters. 

“He reiterated that policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also highlighted our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to help provide Taiwan the means to defend itself. So, again, our policy is not changed,” said Austin, denying that the U.S. would deploy troops to Taiwan in the event of an invasion.

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