At a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden was asked whether the US would be willing to assist Taiwan in an invasion beyond Ukraine.
“You didn’t want to get militarily involved in the conflict in Ukraine for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get militarily involved to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” a reporter asked.
“Yes,” Biden replied. “That’s the commitment we made.”
“We agree with the One China policy. We signed it, and all the associated agreements made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, just by force, is (just not) appropriate,” he said. †
Under the “One China” policy, the US recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but Beijing has never officially recognized that Beijing is the self-governing island of 23 million inhabitants. The US provides Taiwan with defensive weapons but has remained deliberately ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.
Biden’s strong warning was given on China’s doorstep during his first trip to Asia as president. The visit aims to unite allies and partners to counter China’s increasing influence. It also came a day before Biden is expected to attend the second in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) — an informal grouping between the US, Japan, Australia and India that has alerted Beijing.
Several of Biden’s top executives were taken aback by the comments, several aides told DailyExpertNews, adding that they didn’t expect Biden to be so unequivocal.
In a statement in response to Biden’s comments, a White House official said the official US position has remained unchanged.
“As the president said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military resources to defend themselves,” the official said.
China expresses ‘firm opposition’ to comments
Within hours, China had expressed its “strong discontent and firm opposition” to Biden’s comments, saying it will not allow any outside force to interfere in its “internal affairs”.
“There is no room for compromise on issues related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and other core interests,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry.
“We have urged the US to follow the One China principle seriously… be careful in words and deeds on the Taiwan issue and do not send the wrong signal to pro-Taiwan independence and separatist forces – lest it cause serious damage to the situation in the Taiwan Strait and relations between China and the US.”
Taiwan is located less than 110 miles (177 kilometers) off the coast of China. For more than 70 years, the two parties have been ruled separately, but that hasn’t stopped the ruling Chinese Communist Party from claiming the island as its own – despite never having checked it.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable and refused to rule out the use of force. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are at their highest in recent decades, with the Chinese military sending record numbers of warplanes to the island.
Joanne Ou, a spokesman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, told DailyExpertNews it “expresses a sincere welcome and gratitude to President Biden and the United States government for reiterating its unwavering commitment to Taiwan.”
Biden compares potential invasion of Taiwan to war in Ukraine
Biden on Monday compared a potential invasion of Taiwan by China to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, warning, “It will disrupt the entire region,” stressing that “Russia has to pay a long-term price for its actions.”
“And the reason I’m bothering to say this is not just about Ukraine – if, in fact, (Russian President Vladimir Putin) has done, there is rapprochement… between the Ukrainians and Russia, and these sanctions are not continued to be sustained in many ways, what signal does that send to China about the cost of an attempt, an attempt to take Taiwan by force?”
Biden said China is “already flirting with danger by flying so close and all the maneuvers they take.”
“But the United States is committed, we made a commitment, we support the One China policy, we support everything we’ve done in the past, but that doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean China has the opportunity, excuse me jurisdiction to go in and use force to take over Taiwan,” he added.
At the press conference, Kishida also reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
“Attempts to change the status quo by force, such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, should never be tolerated in the Indo-Pacific, especially in East Asia,” he said.
“As the regional security environment continues to tighten, I reaffirmed with President Biden that we need to rapidly strengthen the deterrence and response of the Japan-US alliance,” he said, adding that he expressed his determination to “build Japan’s defense capabilities.” fundamentally strengthen.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting and response.
Kaitlan Collins of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.