Australian news, and some related international items

Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan against China By Trevor Hunnicutt and Sakura Murakami

  • Summary
  • White House official says no change in policy
  • China says U.S. should not defend Taiwan independence
  • U.S. wants to toughen policy without provoking Beijing – analyst
  • Biden in Japan for first Asia trip of presidency

TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression in a comment that seemed to stretch the limits of the ambiguous U.S. policy towards the self-ruled island.

While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

After Biden made the remark at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, an aide said the president’s statement represented no change in the long-standing American stance to the island that China claims as its own.

A reporter asked Biden if the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked. “Yes,” the president answered.

“That’s the commitment we made,” said Biden, who helped build an international coalition trying to thwart Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We agree with a one-China policy. We’ve signed on to it and all the intended agreements made from there. But the idea that, that it (Taiwan) can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not, is just not appropriate,” he said.

Biden added it was his expectation that such an event would not happen or be attempted.

But the comment was likely to be closely watched in a region worried about China’s rising influence. China has been a key topic for Biden on his inaugural trip to Asia. 

A White House official later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan, a point reiterated by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a Pentagon briefing.

“As the president said, our ‘one China’ policy has not changed,” Austin said. He said Biden had stressed the U.S. commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act “to help provide Taiwan the means to defend itself.”

China considers the democratic island its territory, under its “one China” principle, and says it is the most sensitive and important issue in its relationship with Washington.

China has no room for compromise or concessions on matters relating to its sovereignty and territorial integrity, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a news briefing.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry thanked Biden for his support


May 24, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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