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Biden Doubles Down on Defending Taiwan From Potential Chinese Invasion

President Biden says he doesn't encourage Taiwanese independence but also says US forces would defend the island in the case of a Chinese invasion.
Screenshot of Biden’s 60 Minutes interview.

By SP Staff / Original to ScheerPost

Note to Readers: This is a revised version of a story posted earlier today.

During an interview broadcasted Sunday on CBS News’s “60 Minutes” program, President Joe Biden doubled down on his hawkish foreign policy approach in East Asia stating that US forces would be used to defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion.

When interviewer Scott Pelley asked the president to specify that this would be a different scenario than Ukraine, this time with actual troops on the ground, Biden answered with an unequivocal “yes.” 

Biden’s comments are the latest—following Nancy Pelosi’s Washington-opposed trip to Taipei—to undermine longstanding US policy towards Taiwan. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which establishes Washington will help Taiwan defend itself through defensive and economic support, does not promise to provide troops or participate in war.

During a trip to Japan in May, Biden took the same hawkish stance towards China, describing a hypothetical US defense of the island as a “commitment we made.”

White House spokespeople have had to walk back several of Biden’s comments regarding Taiwan, including his comments in Japan and from the recent 60 Minutes interview.

“The president has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year. He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed. That remains true,” a spokesperson said.

Despite Biden’s claim that Washington doesn’t encourage Taiwanese independence and remains committed to the One-China policy, the president continues to follow a historic pattern of arms support for the island. Just this month, the US State Department approved a $1.1 billion sale of weapons to Taiwan followed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s approval to push forward legislation that would grant an additional $4.5 billion over four years to Taiwan.

Al Jazeera writes: “China claims Taiwan as a province that must be ‘reunified’ with the mainland, by force if necessary, and has accused the US of disrupting regional stability and encouraging Taiwanese separatism.”

Matthew Kroenig, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, called Biden’s stance “crystal clear” and told Al Jazeera: 

“As long as he is president, US policy is to defend Taiwan. This is the right policy as it contributes to the deterrence of China and helps to guide US military planning. I do think America has the stomach for that fight. Hitler and imperial Japan bet that America didn’t have the stomach for a fight in the run-up to WWII. How did that turn out for them? Washington has a huge strategic interest in maintaining peace and stability, and a free and open order, in the Indo-Pacific.”

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