U.S. forces would defend Taiwan towards Chinese language assault, Biden says

U.S. forces would defend Taiwan within the occasion of a Chinese language invasion, President Joe Biden stated Sunday, his clearest assertion but on the difficulty and one that’s more likely to infuriate Beijing.

In a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on CBS, Biden was requested whether or not the USA would defend Taiwan towards an assault from Beijing, which claims the self-ruling island democracy as its territory.

“Sure, if actually there was an unprecedented assault,” he stated.

The president stated “sure” when requested if he meant that, not like in Ukraine, U.S. forces would come to Taiwan’s protection.

That is no less than the fourth time since final yr that Biden has made feedback that seem to change longtime U.S. coverage on Taiwan. Since establishing diplomatic relations with China in 1979, the USA has acknowledged Beijing as the only real official authorities of China whereas sustaining unofficial relations with Taiwan.

The USA is sure by legislation to offer Taiwan with defensive weapons however has a coverage of “strategic ambiguity” on the subject 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 on Monday, was recorded final week. After it aired, a White Home spokesperson stated U.S. coverage on Taiwan remained unchanged.

“The president has stated this earlier than, together with in Tokyo earlier this yr,” the spokesperson stated, referring to feedback Biden made in Could. “He additionally made clear then that our Taiwan coverage hasn’t modified. That continues to be true.” 

Biden stated 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 impartial,” he stated. “That’s their resolution.”

Nonetheless, the president’s feedback are seemingly to attract ire from Beijing, which responded with unprecedented live-fire drills round Taiwan after Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island final month. Her go to to Taiwan has drawn essentially the most consideration amid an uptick this yr in journeys by U.S. congressional delegations pledging their assist.

Chinese language President Xi Jinping, who has not dominated out the usage of power in attaining his aim of “reunification” with Taiwan, has warned Biden towards any change to U.S. coverage on the island, most lately throughout a name between the 2 leaders 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 significantly improve U.S. defensive assist. A Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson criticized the invoice as a violation of the One China coverage and stated it will “trigger extraordinarily critical penalties to China-U.S. relations.”

Taiwan, which is about 100 miles off the coast of China, has by no means been dominated by the Chinese language Communist Get together. 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 struggle, fled there in 1949 and established a rival authorities.

Kelly O’Donnell contributed.

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