Biden Says U.S. Forces Would Defend Taiwan if China Invaded

Biden Says U.S. Forces Would Defend Taiwan if China Invaded

After the interview, the White House said that the president’s remarks do not represent a change in the One China policy.

During a 60 Minutes interview broadcast on CBS on Sunday, President Joe Biden said that U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

“We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago,” Biden said. “And that there's One China policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving—we're not encouraging their being independent. We're not— that—that's their decision.”

When asked if the U.S. military would directly take part in defending the island nation, Biden replied: “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”

Biden also confirmed that “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women” would be involved in such an effort.

After the interview, the White House said that the president’s remarks do not represent a change in the One China policy, which dictates that the United States recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out retaking the island by force if necessary.

Earlier this month, despite China’s objections, the State Department announced $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

“This package was in the works for some time precisely because we expected it would be needed as China increased its pressure on Taiwan,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said regarding the sale.

“We have and we will continue to be responsible, steady, and resolute and keep our lines of communication open with Beijing, but also continue to support Taiwan in consistent—in ways that are consistent with our policy,” he continued.

In response, Liu Pengyu, the spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the United States, said in a series of tweets that the arms deal “sends wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces, and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China is firmly opposed to this.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week advanced a measure that would bolster U.S. security assistance to Taiwan. In what is considered the most comprehensive overhaul of U.S.-Taiwan policy in more than four decades, the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 authorizes $6.5 billion over the next five years and aims to boost the island nation’s ability to defend itself militarily against a potential invasion.

“If we hope to have a credible deterrence … we need to be clear-eyed about what we are facing,” said Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who introduced the bill alongside Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy.