The US will intervene with military force if China attempts to invade Taiwan, Joe Biden said Monday during a visit to Tokyo in one of the strongest displays of support for Taipei in decades.
On his first trip to Asia during his presidency, Mr Biden said the burden of protecting the self-governing island had grown “even heavier” after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“That’s the commitment we made,” Mr. Biden said in a news conference, adding that any attempt by China to use force against Taiwan would be “simply inappropriate.”
Such an attack “will upset the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine,” Biden said.
His comments in Tokyo appeared to be a departure from America’s existing policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding its position on Taiwan, according to which the US has pledged to support the Taipei government but did not specifically say what it would do if it did Taiwan submit attack.
Washington says it adheres to a “one China policy,” meaning it only maintains formal diplomatic ties with the government in Beijing while engaging in informal talks with Taiwan.
Beijing, meanwhile, advocates the “one China principle” – that China is a single entity encompassing all disputed territories including Taiwan. President Xi Jinping has previously vowed to regain control of Taiwan – which has been self-governing since World War II – and has not ruled out the use of force.
Shortly after Mr Biden’s statement, a White House official said there was no change in US policy towards Taiwan.
“He reaffirmed our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
China has stepped up military provocations over the past year, flying a record number of planes into airspace claimed by Taiwan. Taipei has described the maneuvers as an act of intimidation, ultimately designed to gain acceptance of unification with mainland China.
Mr Biden said the tactic was dangerous. “They are already flirting with the danger because they are flying so close and all the maneuvers that are being undertaken,” Biden said, referring to China.
He said the US expects China not to take Taiwan by force, but added that the assessment “depends on how strongly the world makes it clear that this type of action will lead to long-term disapproval from the rest of the world.” [international] community”.
He said that in order to deter China from its bid to take over Taiwan, it is necessary for Russian President Vladimir Putin to “pay a heavy price for his barbarism in Ukraine” and to show China and other nations that such actions are unacceptable .
The harsh comments against China are likely to infuriate Beijing, which previously condemned Washington for “external interference and provocation” over the Taiwan issue.
The statement is the most open of Mr Biden’s Asia visit, which began last week in South Korea and includes meetings with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, members of the “Quad” group of countries.
Also on Monday, the US President announced the launch of a new trade pact called the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, or IPEF. The pact includes 13 member states that account for 40 percent of global GDP – Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.
It is being touted as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Washington withdrew from in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.
The IPEF pact, which would allow the US to work more closely with Asian economies on issues such as supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anti-corruption, does not include Taiwan.
Critics of the framework say it has major limitations, including a lack of incentives for potential partners, such as B. Tariff cuts or providing better access to US markets, making it a weak competitor to the TPP. The details have yet to be ironed out, however, as Monday’s launch marks just the beginning of talks that are expected to last 12 to 18 months.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida thanked Mr Biden for his support of his bid to join a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member.
“President Biden has expressed the need to reform and strengthen the United Nations, including the Security Council, which bears great responsibility for the peace and security of the international community,” Kishida said.
https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/china/biden-military-china-invasion-taiwan-b2084979.html US will use force to defend Taiwan if China invades, Biden says