“Yes, we have an obligation to do so.” Biden answered without hesitation when asked by a CNN anchor if the United States would defend Taiwan.
This may signal a shift in US policy toward the island nation, which views China as a breakaway province. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, America already sells arms to Taiwan, but the official position in Washington otherwise is that the island nation must fend for itself if China invades, for example. Nothing is certain about whether America will come to the aid of the island nation.
Despite Biden’s statement, it is uncertain whether the United States is now making that promise. This is not the first time Biden has made such a statement about Taiwan. He did so already in August, and like that, the White House spokesperson is contradicting the president’s commitment. After the interview aired, a spokesperson told US media that Biden’s comments did not represent a change in policy.
It is not clear whether this is true to maintain this “strategic ambiguity”, or because the president has spoken too firmly. However, rising tensions between China and Taiwan are clearly giving Washington a headache. Beijing has indicated that it intends to annex Taiwan by force if necessary. The fact that Chinese military aircraft have been flying over Taiwan’s airspace for days in a row this month seems to indicate that China is increasingly preparing for it. Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kucheng said he feared a Chinese invasion could begin within a few years.
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