- PRESIDENT Joe Biden said US military forces would defend Taiwan from “an unprecedented attack”.
- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning urged the US to understand the highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question.
- The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry expressed gratitude towards President Biden’s assurance.
US President Joe Biden in his latest pledge reiterated his support for Taiwan to deter China from increasing military pressure on Taipei. He made the remark during an interview with 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday (Sep 18), while distancing himself from the question of whether Taiwan is or should be independent.
Earlier in the interview, the US leader had said the US stood by its “One China” policy, in which it has avoided formal recognition of the government in Taipei or providing it a binding security guarantee. However, he affirmed deployment of American forces in case of an unprecedented attack by China. Biden has made similar statements on at least 4 other occasions as president, spurring protests from Beijing and adding new uncertainty to Washington’s long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning urged the USA to abide by the ‘one China’ principle, failing to do so, she added, could cause “further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Strait”.
Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Programme at the German Marshall Fund commented, “If Biden is serious about defending Taiwan, he’ll attach a much higher priority to bolstering the US military’s capability to defend Taiwan if attacked.”
A Political Impasse
US relations with China have deteriorated further in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island last month, with China cutting off climate and military talks and holding its most provocative military exercises near Taiwan in decades. President Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi are to hold their first face-to-face summit in November. However, things could take a turn for the worse if the Congress passes the Taiwan Policy Act, which is now under discussion in Washington. It would formally designate Taiwan a “major non-NATO ally” and give it more military hardware.
Lev Nachman, assistant professor at National Chengchi University said “The biggest problem we have is that what the White House says is our Taiwan policy…The worry is that this will exacerbate Taiwan’s current high-tension moment rather than reduce it.” The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry on the other hand expressed their gratitude toward the US government for backing the island state in the backdrop of a crisis.
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