Taiwan can count on US military support if attacked by China. Against the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US President Biden has expressed himself more clearly than ever before. This triggered sharp reactions in Beijing.
China's government has accused US President Joe Biden of "playing with fire" after comments on possible military assistance to Taiwan. Washington is playing the "Taiwan card" to keep China in check, but is burning itself in the "playing with fire," said Taiwan Affairs Bureau spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian, according to a report by the state news agency Xinhua. The spokeswoman called on the US government to refrain from "statements or actions" that violate previously established principles of both countries.
During a visit to Japan on Monday, Biden brought up military support for Taiwan in the event of an attack by China. When asked by a journalist whether the United States could "participate militarily, unlike in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine," "to defend Taiwan," Biden said "yes." He then added: "That's the commitment we made."
The statement immediately caused an uproar and sharp reactions from China, which emphasizes defending its national interests. "Nobody should underestimate the Chinese people's firm determination, unwavering will and strong ability in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. "You can't stand against 1.4 billion Chinese," he warned. "The Taiwan question is a purely internal matter for China." In this case there is "no room for compromises or concessions".
Biden made a similar statement last October. The US has long pursued a line of "strategic ambiguity" on the Taiwan issue. The US has assured Taiwan of support in building up its defense capabilities, but has not expressly promised to come to the island's aid in the event of war.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland - if necessary with military force. Since 1979, the USA has recognized the leadership in Beijing as China's sole government. However, Biden emphasized on Monday that this does not mean that China can take Taiwan by force. "That is not appropriate."
After Biden's comments, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized that the US government had not changed course in Taiwan policy. "Our politics haven't changed," Austin told reporters. "As the President has said, our One China policy has not changed." At the same time, Biden reiterated the statutory commitment to help Taiwan obtain the funds to "defend itself."
Shortly after Biden's comments, a White House representative asserted that the President's words were consistent with existing US policy towards Taiwan. "Our policy has not changed."