President Joe Biden during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on Monday, May 23, 2022.
The White House was quick to downplay President Joe Biden’s comment that the United States would intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force.
Biden’s comment in response to a question from a journalist at press conference in Tokyo appeared to deviate from the deliberately ambiguous policy that the US maintains on the issue.
However, going into damage-control mode the White House issued a statement saying the USA has not changed its official position on Taiwan.
According to a CNN report this is the third time in recent months that Biden has said the US would protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack, only to have the White House deny the remarks.
During a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden was asked by a reporter: "You didn't want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?" a reporter asked.
"Yes," Biden replied. "That's the commitment we made."
"We agree with the One China policy. We signed on to it, and all the attendant agreements made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate," the US President said.
Under the "One China" policy, the US acknowledges China's position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized Beijing's claim to the autonomous island which is run by a democratically elected government.
In a statement following Biden's comments, a White House official said the US' official position remained unchanged.
"As the President said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself," the official said.
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