Biden ‘spoken his mind’ when he vowed to defend Taiwan against China in saying White House should backtrack, Taipei envoy says
- Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US was behind President Biden’s comments
- Biden told 60 Minutes on Sunday that US troops would defend the island in the event of an ‘unprecedented attack’ by the Chinese military
- Beijing was outraged by Biden’s comments, claiming they were “serious” violations of the United States’ long-standing policy toward China’s unity government.
- China has significantly increased its war games in the Taiwan Strait
- It marks the fourth time in just over a year that the White House has had to roll back the president’s entire defense of Taiwan
Taiwan’s factor ambassador to the US Hsiao Bi-khim told reporters in connection with Biden’s pledge to defend the island: ‘What we’ve heard is President Biden speaking his mind’
Taipei’s de-factor ambassador to Washington said on Monday that President Joe Biden was “expressing his opinion” when he said the US military would defend Taiwan in the event of an “unprecedented attack.”
It comes after Beijing accused the US president of “seriously” violating long-standing US-China policy with his comments.
China has stepped up its military exercises on the coast of the island and in the Taiwan Strait this year, with some global security experts concerned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February encouraged leader Xi Jinping to take aggressive actions against the island.
“What we’ve heard is President Biden expressing his opinion,” the Taiwanese envoy told US President Hsiao Bi-khim, according to Newsweek.
She added that Taipei and Washington would work closely “to promote and maintain peace and stability in the region, and jointly maintain the status quo.”
It comes after Biden directly confirmed during a lengthy CBS News 60 Minutes interview that he would send US troops to defend Taiwan if the situation called for it.
“Yes, if there really was an unprecedented attack,” Biden said when asked if his army would defend the island.
However, he also got closer to US policy when he said “we don’t encourage their independence from China,” adding that it was up to Taiwan.
Biden said unequivocally on Sunday that ‘yes’, US troops would defend Taiwan in the event of an ‘unprecedented attack’
The interviewer then notes that the White House said its policies “have not changed” after the Biden interview, again undermining the president’s strong rhetoric against Beijing.
But Biden left no room for interpretation.
“So unlike Ukraine, sir, would American troops, American men and women defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” asked Pelley.
Biden simply replied, “Yes.”
It’s the fourth time in just over a year that the White House has had to pump pauses in Biden’s eager defense of Taiwan.
Beijing was expected to be outraged by the recent comments.
Global experts worry that Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine encouraged Chinese President Xi Jinping to launch an attack on Taiwan
State Department spokesman Mao Ning told reporters that the statements “are a serious violation of the important commitment made by the US not to support Taiwan’s independence and send a gravely false signal to Taiwanese officials.” separatist independence forces’.
“We are ready to do our best to strive for peaceful reunification. At the same time, we will not tolerate secessionist activities,” Mao said.
China seriously stepped up its aggression against Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month, the first visit by a US Speaker of the House of Representatives since Newt Gingrich.
The New York Times reported at the time that Pelosi’s plane had made a deliberate three-hour detour to avoid areas of high Chinese military activity.
Since her trip, which was opposed by Biden and the US military, a parade of US lawmakers and elected officials has flown to the island to show support.