President of the United States Joe Biden stated today that the United States would engage militarily if China invaded Taiwan, saying that the burden to safeguard Taiwan is "even greater" following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It was one of the president's most potent declarations in decades supporting self-government.
During a news appearance in Tokyo, Biden said affirmatively when asked if he would protect Taiwan militarily if China attacked. "That's the commitment we made," he continued.
Historically, the US has avoided providing Taiwan, with which it no longer has a mutual defense pact, with such an express security assurance. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which has governed US relations with the island, does not obligate the US to protect Taiwan militarily if China invades. Still, it is American policy to guarantee Taiwan has the resources to defend itself and to prevent Beijing from unilaterally changing Taiwan's status.
The mainland, which long declared Taiwan a rebellious colony, is sure to respond angrily to Biden's statements.
A White House official stated that Biden's remarks did not reflect a shift in policy.
Biden, speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, stated that any attempt by China to use force against Taiwan would be "just not be appropriate," adding that such an action "will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine."
In recent years, China has escalated its military provocations against democratic Taiwan to coerce it into embracing Beijing's demands for unification with the communist mainland.
"They're already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the manoeuvres that are undertaken," Biden said of China.
Under the "one China" policy, the United States recognizes Beijing as the Chinese government and has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The United States maintains unofficial contacts, including a de facto embassy in Taipei, the capital, and supplies the island's defense forces with military weapons.
Biden stated that it is his "expectation" that China will not attempt to acquire Taiwan forcibly but added that this "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."
He noted that deterring China from attacking Taiwan is one reason why it is crucial that Russian President Vladimir Putin "pay a dear price for his barbarism in Ukraine," lest China and other nations conclude that such behavior is acceptable.
Fearing escalation with a nuclear-armed Russia, Biden quickly ruled out bringing US soldiers into direct war with Russia. Still, he has sent billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, which has helped it put up a stronger-than-anticipated resistance to Russia's attack.
Before he officially introduced a long-awaited Indo-Pacific trade treaty that excludes Taiwan, Biden made these remarks.
The national security adviser of the White House, Jake Sullivan, confirmed on Sunday that Taiwan is not among the governments that have signed up for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. This framework is intended to allow the United States to collaborate more closely with critical Asian economies on supply chains, digital trade, clean energy, and anti-corruption initiatives. Taiwan's inclusion would have irritated China.
Sullivan stated that the United States desires to develop its economic engagement with Taiwan on an equal footing.