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US President reaffirms ‘one China’ policy, but vows to defend Taiwan if attacked

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(TibetanReview.net, May23’22) – While reaffirming his commitment to the “one China” policy, US President Joe Biden has made clear on May 23 his determination not to let China take the de facto independent island nation of Taiwan by force.

“We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it, but the idea that it can be taken by force is just not appropriate”, the AFP May 23 quoted Biden as saying in Tokyo on the second day of a visit to Japan.

In one of the most forceful US statements in support of Taiwan in decades, Biden said the US’s responsibility to protect the self-ruled island – which China considers a renegade province – was “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noted theguardian.com May 23.

“That’s the commitment we made,” Biden has said, after he told his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, that Washington backed Japan’s permanent membership of a reformed UN security council and Tokyo’s plans to beef up its security with record levels of spending on defence, as it seeks to counter a nuclear-armed North Korea and an increasingly assertive China.

Under the “One China” policy, the US acknowledges Beijing’s position that there is only one Chinese government and does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But it maintains unofficial contacts with Taiwan, including a de facto embassy, and supplies it with defensive military equipment.

Biden’s comments are seen as appearing to depart from the existing US policy of “strategic ambiguity” on its position on Taiwan.

But shortly after Biden’s remarks, a White House official said: “There is no change in US policy towards Taiwan. As the president said, our policy has not changed.”

Biden’s comments are seen to be likely to overshadow the centerpiece of his visit – the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a broad plan providing an economic pillar for US engagement with Asia.

His visit also includes meetings on May 24 with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, in the “Quad” (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) group of countries, which China sees as being targeted against it.

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