The US President’s latest speech shows a shift from a policy of strategic ambiguity to a self-governing island.
US President Joe Biden has said that US forces will defend Taiwan from Chinese invasion, the strongest sign yet of a departure from Washington’s decades-long policy of strategic ambiguity. for the island of democracy.
Asked in a television interview if the US military would defend the self-governing island if China invaded, Biden said it would if there was an “unprecedented attack”.
When asked for further clarification, Biden confirmed that American personnel would come to protect Taiwan, unlike in Ukraine, where Washington has provided material support and military equipment to repel Russia without going. U.S army.
Biden’s comments are his latest to cast doubt on the longstanding US policy towards Taiwan enshrined in the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which pledges Washington to help Taipei defend itself. but does not promise to provide troops or participate directly in any conflict.
During a trip to Japan in May, Biden appeared to confirm that he would use force to defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, describes protecting the island as a “commitment that we have made”.
While many observers see Biden’s comments as a sign of an end to strategic ambiguity over Taiwan, White House officials have repeatedly emphasized that US policy towards the island remains unchanged. change.
A White House spokesman said that US policy has not changed despite Biden’s latest statements.
“The president has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year. Then he also made it clear that our Taiwan policy has not changed. That is still true. “
In an interview with CBS ’60 Minutes, Biden reiterated that Washington does not support Taiwan independence and is committed to the “One China” policy under which the US officially recognizes Beijing, not Taipei. .
Although it does not officially recognize Taipei, Washington remains one of Taiwan’s strongest international supporters. Earlier this month, the US State Department approved the $1.1 billion arms sale to the islandwhile a Senate committee voted to move forward The law would provide an additional $4.5 billion in security assistance and impose sanctions on Beijing for any attempt to seize the island by force..
China claims Taiwan as a province to be “reunified” with the mainland, by force if necessary, and has accused the US of disrupting regional stability and encouraging Taiwan’s separatism.
Following Biden’s comments in May, China’s foreign ministry warned that “no one should underestimate the steadfast determination, unyielding will and strong ability of the Chinese people to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country”.
Matthew Kroenig, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, said Biden’s stance on defending Taiwan was “crystal clear”.
“As long as he is president, it is US policy to protect Taiwan. This is the right policy because it contributes to deterrence against China and helps guide US military planning,” Kroenig told Al Jazeera.
“I really think the US has the stomach for that war. Hitler and imperial Japan bet that America didn’t want to fight before World War II. How did that happen to them? Washington has a great strategic interest in maintaining peace and stability, as well as a free and open order, in the Indo-Pacific.