WASHINGTON, D.C. – After previously responding in the positive, President Joe Biden once again reiterated his stance that the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan if it were attacked by China, despite a White House statement released soon afterward that contrasted Biden’s pledge.
During a CBS 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, Biden – when asked directly if he would send the U.S. military to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a Chinese attack, he firmly responded that he would.
“Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack,” he said.
Chinese leadership out of Beijing were quick to condemn Biden, saying that it “deplores and firmly opposes” his promise to aid Taiwan, with the country’s foreign ministry claiming that it had issued “stern representations” with Washington D.C. over the incident.
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Currently, the U.S. and China adhere to the “One China Policy,” which is the position held by Beijing that there is only one sovereign Chinese government, and that Taiwan is a part of China.
However, political status of Taiwan is contentious, with the country – an island off the coast of eastern China – considering itself a separate independent nation, with China determined to bring it back under its direct rule, threatening to do so by force if needed.
Despite agreeing to the One China Policy, the U.S. has direct diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and even shares an arms sales and defense agreement with the country known under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Following Biden’s controversial remarks on CBS, the White House – as it has done three times since October when the President has made public defense claims about Taiwan – issued a statement noting that the official U.S. policy of non-commitment of military intervention for Taiwan remains the same.
“The President has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year,” the White House said. “He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed. That remains true.”