President Joe Biden Tuesday insisted he was not changing U.S. policy toward Taiwan after rocking China Monday by saying yes when a reporter asked if he was “ready to engage militarily” to help the to defend the island.
“The policy hasn’t changed at all. I explained that when I made my statement yesterday,” Biden told reporters at the Quad Summit in Tokyo.
The president was first asked if the “strategic ambiguity” policy towards Taiwan was dead.
“No,” Biden replied.
When asked to elaborate, Biden declined.
“No,” he said.
President Joe Biden Tuesday insisted he was not changing U.S. policy toward Taiwan after rocking China Monday by saying yes when a reporter asked if he was “ready to engage militarily” to help the to defend the island
President Joe Biden (center left) was peppered with questions about his comments on Taiwan on Tuesday as he joined (from left) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Quad Fellowship announcement attended
Biden met with the Quad leaders — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida — on Tuesday to conclude his first trip to Asia as president.
During a press conference alongside Kishida on Monday, Biden reiterated he was ready to intervene militarily should China invade Taiwan — and drew parallels between that threat and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Yes,” said Biden. “That’s a commitment we’ve made,” Biden replied when asked about the hot-button diplomatic issue.
Biden reiterated that the US agreed to the so-called “One China” policy – that only the People’s Republic of China is “China,” which is why US diplomatic relations with Taiwan are unofficial.
“But the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate,” Biden said. “It will upset the entire region and will be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
Additionally, Biden said, “My expectation is that it’s not going to happen, it’s not going to be attempted.”
Chinese troops take part in a military exercise. Biden said Monday Chin had “already been flirting with danger” by conducting military drills near Taiwan
But he condemned military exercises conducted by China. “They are already flirting with the danger because they are flying so close and all the maneuvers that are being undertaken,” the president said.
A White House official asked to clarify the comment replied: “As the President said, our policy has not changed. He reaffirmed our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reaffirmed our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means of self-defense.’
Biden was asked at the very end of a press conference at Tokyo’s Akasaka Palace: “You didn’t want to get involved militarily in the Ukraine conflict for obvious reasons. Are you willing to engage militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?’ – which the President affirms.
In response, China’s foreign ministry told Reuters that the US should not defend Taiwan’s independence.
China blasted Biden’s comments, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressing “strong discontent and determined opposition.”
“China has no room for compromise or concession on issues affecting China’s core interests such as sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
The US is providing Ukraine with billions in arms and aid, but Biden has steadfastly refused to involve Americans in the fighting.
The US is already supplying fighter jets and Patriot missiles to Taiwan, but the official policy is deliberately ambiguous in line with the “one China” policy to which Biden refers.
“Our policy towards Taiwan hasn’t changed at all. We remain committed to supporting cross-strait peace and stability and ensuring there is no unilateral change in the status quo,” Biden said minutes earlier.
President Joe Biden reiterated that he would authorize military action against China if it invaded Taiwan, drawing parallels between that threat and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a news conference Monday in Tokyo
Biden then pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “barbarism” in Ukraine, mentioning the Russian bombing of Ukrainian schools and repeated attacks on places of cultural significance in Ukraine.
“I believe that Putin is trying to eliminate Ukraine’s identity, identity. He can’t occupy it, but he can destroy its identity,” Biden said. “For this, Russia has to pay a long-term price.”
The President asked, “What signal does this send to China about the cost of trying to take Taiwan by force” if Russia is not adequately punished.
Biden declined to answer several shouted questions about Taiwan at a later event Monday.
His tough talk came days after a joint statement by the US and South Korea that specifically mentioned Taiwan, despite public warnings from China.
“The two presidents reaffirm the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the cross-straits as an essential element for security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.
The White House had to sanitize comments by Biden last year that also expressed a “commitment” to come to the aid of Taiwan.
Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in October after the comment, “There has been no postponement. The President has not announced any change in our policy, nor has he made a decision to change our policy. There is no change in our policy.’
This, too, drew a rebuke from China, with Wang Wenbin urging the US to strictly adhere to the one-China principle and “to be careful in our words and actions on the Taiwan issue and refrain from giving false signals.” the US to send “Taiwan Independence” Separatist forces — or it will seriously damage Sino-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability.
President Joe Biden (left) attended a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) in Tokyo on Monday
Ahead of Biden’s speech at the press conference, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Taiwan would not be included in the 13-country Indo-Pacific economic framework.
It was just another sign of how professional diplomats typically attempt to deal with matters so sensitive that they are often referred to only as “cross-strait matters.” Taiwan’s inclusion would have angered China.
His comments on Ukraine showed that brutal war on the other side of the war was never far away, even on a trip designed to focus on Asia and new economic cooperation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kishida said he has repeatedly published his own denunciations of Russia’s use of force in Ukraine – in language that can also be applied to the region.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is undermining the foundations of the world order. And there is no way we can allow such attempts to change the status quo in the future, wherever it may be in the world,” he said earlier Monday.
At the press conference, he said Japan “strongly opposes any attempt to change the status quo by force” in the East China Sea and South China Sea, a reference to Chinese territorial claims.
And he called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” while expressing “serious concern” about North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.