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US President Biden reiterates vow to defend Taiwan if China invades

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(TibetanReview.net, Sep19’22) – As the threat of China’s invasion grows in light of its recent series of unprecedented military exercises, the US appears to be increasingly shedding its decades-old policy of strategic ambiguity on how far it will go to help or defend Taiwan.

Asked in an interview with the CBS news show 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday (Sep 18), if US forces would defend Taiwan — a self-ruled democracy that sits roughly 100 miles off the Chinese coast and is claimed by Beijing as part of China – President Joe Biden has replied “yes.”

“Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack,” Biden was quoted as saying.

Asked again if, unlike in Ukraine, US forces would get involved in the event of a Chinese invasion, Biden has replied: “Yes.”

On three previous occasions since mid-2021, Biden made similar public comments, suggesting that the US would get involved in a conflict over Taiwan, noted the npr.org Sep 19.

The report cited some observers as saying the remarks contradict a long-standing preference from US administrations for ambiguity on the issue of defending Taiwan, as a way to deter both China and Taiwan from taking steps that could alter the status quo.

However, the White House has said the remarks do not represent a change in US policy.

“The president has said this before… He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed. That remains true,” the report quoted a White House spokesperson as saying after the interview.

* * *

The US is, by law, committed to provide Taiwan with means to defend itself. Debate about what that should look like has intensified in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China has also tipped the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait with a sweeping, multi-year modernization of its armed forces, then report noted.

Taiwan has welcomed Biden’s emphatic words, which it said reflected the US government’s “rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan”. Taipei said it would continue to deepen its “close security partnership” with Washington.

However, a furious Beijing has denounced the US president’s remarks on Taiwan, saying they “severely violate” long-standing US policy over the self-ruled island, reported the indiatoday.com Sep 19.

* * *

In his CBS interview, Biden has reiterated that the US remained committed to a “One-China” policy in which Washington officially recognises Beijing not Taipei, and said America was not encouraging Taiwanese independence.

“We are not moving, we are not encouraging their being independent … that’s their decision,” he has said.

China has vowed to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control and has not ruled out the use of force, seeing it as a breakaway province remaining to be reunited with the Chinese motherland.

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