May 25, 2022: -On Tuesday, President Joe Biden insisted that the U.S. had not changed its strategic policy on Taiwan. A day after, he angered Beijing when he said his administration would want to use military force to defend the island.
Biden met with Japan, India, and Australia leaders at their second Quad Leaders’ Summit, which wrapped up in Tokyo on Tuesday.
On Monday, the U.S. president startled many delegates when he suggested that the U.S. could deploy American troops on the island should China invade. When a reporter asked if he “was wanted to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan,” Biden said “yes.”
The remarks were a surprise departure from decades of U.S. policy that restricts China from using force in Taiwan but has stayed vague regarding the way it would defend the island.
On Tuesday, after covering up talks with global leaders in Tokyo, the president clarified his statement.
“The policy has not changed at all,” he said when asked if his previous comments signaled an end to the U.S. approach of strategic equivocation American diplomats have followed for decades. “I stated that when I made my statement yesterday.”
On his first trip to Asia as president, Biden’s initial declaration inflamed tensions between the U.S. and the communist Chinese government, believing that Taiwan is a part of its domain and does not exist as a sovereign nation.
Even after Biden’s clarification, it remains unclear whether the president’s comments were a gaffe or intentional. Nevertheless, the White House was quick to offer a moderating message in an email to CNBC.
“As the President said, our policy did not change. He reiterated our One China Policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” a White House official told CNBC.
The One China policy holds that the communist People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China and acknowledges unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
“He reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself,” the White House official added.
However, Chinese communist leaders were not convinced.
Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Wang Wenbin warned on Monday that “no one should underestimate the strong resolve, determination, and capability of the Chinese people in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“No one should stand in opposition to the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” he added.