New Delhi, Sept 19: US President Joe Biden said US forces would defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion.
In response to a question about whether US soldiers would defend the democratically run island that China claimed, he said: “Yes, if there was an unprecedented attack.” The interview was carried on CBS for 60 Minutes on Sunday.
Biden replied Yes when asked to clarify if he meant that unlike in Ukraine, US forces – American men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
The interview was merely the most recent instance in which Biden seemed to deviate from the US’s long-standing official position on Taiwan, but his declaration that US troops would be sent to defend the island was more explicit than prior ones.
The United States has long maintained a position of “strategic ambiguity,” refusing to say outright whether it would use force to defend Taiwan. A White House representative was contacted for a response and stated that US policy towards Taiwan had not changed.
“The President has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year. He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed. That remains true,” the spokesperson said.
In the 60 Minutes interview, Biden reaffirmed that the United States was still committed to the “One-China” policy, under which Beijing, not Taipei, is the official recognised capital of China. He also stated that the US was not advocating for Taiwan’s independence.
“We are not moving, we are not encouraging their being independent … that’s their decision,” he said.