Baltimore (CNN) – President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States is committed to defending Taiwan against a possible attack by China, a position that appears to run counter to the United States’ stated policy on “strategic ambiguity.”
Biden’s words sparked appreciation from the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry as well as China’s warning to the United States not to send “any wrong signal to the Taiwan independence separatist forces.”
When asked twice during a CNN forum if the United States would protect Taiwan if China were attacked, Biden said it would.
“Yes, we are committed to that,” he said.
Biden has made similar statements in the past, only for the White House to say long-standing US policy toward the island has not changed. The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been intentionally ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.
Under the “one China” policy, the United States recognizes China’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. In the past weeks, Beijing sent dozens of warplanes Near the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), Chinese President Xi Jinping said “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable.
A White House official tried to clarify Biden’s comments on Taiwan after the forum. He said the president “has not announced any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy” in his remarks on China and Taiwan.
Following Biden’s remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday warned the United States not to send “any wrong signal to the separatist forces for Taiwan independence.”
“China urges the United States to strictly abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-US joint communiques, be careful in its words and actions on the Taiwan issue, and refrain from sending any wrong signal to the separatists,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference in Beijing Friday, “Taiwan independence forces, so as not to seriously damage Sino-US relations, peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”
The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been intentionally ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan issue is purely China’s internal affair and no foreign or foreign interference is allowed,” Wang told reporters.
“On issues affecting China’s core interests, such as China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise. No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s insistence on defending or opposing China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. 1.4 billion Chinese,” he said. added.
Taiwan thanks Biden and says it will defend its democracy and freedom
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry thanked Joe Biden for his comments on Friday regarding the US commitment to protect the self-ruled island from a possible attack by China.
“Our government will continue to enhance our self-defense capabilities to fully defend Taiwan’s democracy…national security and people’s well-being,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Friday.
CNN’s Eric Cheung, Kaitlyn McGee, and Hannah Ritchie contributed to this report.