Joe Biden insists on Taiwan. It reaffirms the determination of the United States to support the island and its 23 million inhabitants in the event of a Chinese invasion. It does so a few weeks before the Chinese Communist Party Congress and the awaited ‘coronation’ of Xi Jinping with an unprecedented third term as leader. For the Taiwanese media, these are the “clearest” claims since he arrived at the White House. The Washington Post writes of Biden’s “clearest recent statement on how far the US would be willing to go to support Taiwan militarily.”
The American president has intervened on the issue several times in recent months and on every occasion the Administration has always intervened to emphasize that American policy on Taiwan, an independent island that is in fact independent but which Beijing considers an “inalienable part” of its territory, has not changed. We are once again talking about the policy of “strategic ambiguity”.
“Would the US forces defend the island?” CBS asked Biden. “Yes, if there was an unprecedented attack,” replied the president who in recent months has repeatedly hinted that the United States would be ready to assist Taiwan at a military level in the event of a Chinese attack. “So, to be clear, unlike Ukraine, would US forces defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Insisted Scott Pelley in an interview with Biden. “Yes”, the president reiterated.
In August of last year Biden spoke to ABC about the commitment to defend NATO allies and stated that the same was true for Taiwan. Then again in October of that year he intervened during a town hall on CNN after Xi Jinping had returned to reiterate that the “reunification” of Taiwan, a “rebel province” for Beijing, is “inevitable”. The United States will defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China, Biden said, “we have a commitment on this.”
Then he returned to the issue last May 23 in Tokyo, an added value, according to observers, with rumors that highlighted the “end of strategic ambiguity”. He always answered “yes” to the question of whether he was willing to engage in the military to defend the island. “It is the commitment that we have made”, he said, adding that “to agree with the policy of a single China, but the idea that (Taiwan) must be taken by force, only by force, is not right. “. The US policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan has not changed, Biden himself said the following day on the sidelines of the Quad summit, which brings together the United States, India, Australia and Japan.
Also this time, as always, the reactions of Taipei and Beijing to Biden’s words transmitted in the last hours by CBS were immediate. The island reiterates its “thanks” to the American president for “solid support” and Taiwanese diplomacy underlines how “the latest statements highlight once again that the growing threat from China in the Taiwan Strait has raised widespread concern in countries in the world”. Taipei assures that it will continue to work with the US and other countries to strengthen its self-defense capabilities to safeguard the rules-based international order together in the Indo-Pacific region.CopyAMP code.
Beijing diplomacy takes it out on the American president, denounces what it considers “a serious violation” of Washington’s commitments “not to support Taiwan’s independence” and a “bad signal” of support for the “separatist forces militating for the independence “of the island. And he invites Biden to “understand” that for China that of Taiwan is a “very delicate” issue, to respect “the principle of one China”. Not doing so, a foreign ministry spokesperson said, could “further damage” bilateral relations between Beijing and Washington and “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait.
The ire of Beijing had been in recent days the announcement of the Biden administration on the sale of arms to Taiwan for 1.1 billion dollars, which came shortly after the visit in early August of the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Taipei. A mission, followed by trips by various US delegations, to which China responded by launching maxi military maneuvers around the island.
Taiwan and the US have no formal diplomatic relations, but strong economic and military ties. In fact, however, there are ‘diplomatic representations’, the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington. In 1949 the US had initially recognized the Taiwan government as the representative of China, but then everything changed in 1979 and according to the “one China” policy they recognize the Beijing government without taking a position on the status of Taiwan’s sovereignty, even if under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 they are committed to supplying Taiwan with defense weapons. The United States “don’t play with fire,” Xi told Biden in a late-July telephone interview.