In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, President Biden said the US would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, marking the fourth time of his presidency that he’s made the pledge despite the long-standing US policy of strategic ambiguity.
When asked by host Scott Pelley if US forces would defend Taiwan, President Biden said, “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”
Pelley followed up by asking, “So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US forces, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?”
The president replied, “Yes.”
When asked for comment, the White House insisted that US policy hasn’t changed, as it did the three previous times Biden made the pledge to defend Taiwan. “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 White House spokesperson said, according to Reuters.
Under the policy of strategic ambiguity, the US is not supposed to say one way or the other if it would intervene to defend Taiwan if China attacks.
Back in 2001, then-Senator Joe Biden criticized President George W. Bush for suggesting that the US would defend Taiwan, then later walking it back. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Biden wrote that “words matter” and said Bush hurt the credibility of the US by making such comments due to an “inattention to detail.”
Biden rightly pointed out in the 2001 op-ed that the US hasn’t been obligated to defend Taiwan since “we abrogated the 1954 Mutual Defense Treaty signed by President Eisenhower and ratified by the Senate.” The treaty was terminated after the US formalized relations with Beijing in 1979. Since then, the US hasn’t had diplomatic ties with Taipei but has continued to sell arms to the island.
Biden also claimed in the 60 Minutes interview, which was conducted last Thursday, that the US is still committed to the one-China policy. “We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago. 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,” he said.
From Beijing’s perspective, the frequent US delegations to Taiwan and other US support for the island are a sign that Washington is moving away from the one-China policy. Congress is also working on a piece of legislation that would radically change US policy toward Taiwan.
The Taiwan Policy Act would give Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid, give the island the benefits of being a “major non-NATO ally,” expedite arms sales to Taipei, and require sanctions in the event of Chinese aggression. The legislation was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a vote of 17-5. The next step is a vote on the Senate floor, but it’s not clear when that might happen.
56 thoughts on “Biden Again Says the US Would Defend Taiwan If China Attacks”
It’s too bad China wants to conquer U.S. without firing a single bullet.
Well, there is “conquering” and then there is all out nuclear war.
Could they try two bullets?
I really can’t condone killing but if I could, I’d say and at least 535 more.
Well, China is beating our *ss economically.
I think surpass is a better word than conquer.
Yup. I don’t think China is interested in taking over as bull goose loony of the planet.
The old fool is making political statements for point scoring while thinking(based on intelligence assessment) he won’t have to make that call because China will not attack Taiwan if they don’t declare independence. He is forgetting how things can escalate in unforseen way and he is making statements which makes it more likely those unforseen circumstances becoming reality.
If Taiwan did that, they would be the party to change the status quo, and previous statements from a succession of Administrations reflected that neither party (Taiwan or China) would be supported if they changed the status quo.
Nice legalese but some within the us welcomes war thinking its now or never while us supposedly still enjoy some advantage and Biden ditching the ambiguity encourage these people making their play.
Perhaps you would be so kind to name that “some advantage”…
The “some within the us” A.z refers to are people who believe that the US currently has military superiority over China that would provide “some advantage” in a war between the nations. Those people tend to believe that such a war is inevitable and that sooner is better than later, because “later” might be a time when the US no longer has superiority.
Supreme domination in information sphere, usd still unchallenged as a reserve currency, most of the multilateral institutions dominated by us or it’s clients and most of the leadership of developing world hasn’t caught up to the point how a new order is supplanting the old order and most of then have their ill gotten booty still stashed away in the west
Perhaps China should point out that any armed interference in China Taiwan affairs by ANY NATO member could bring retaliation to ANY NATO member, especially the ones who do not have any nonconventional arms, with which to retaliate. HELLO North Macedonia and Montenegr0…!!! Killing the chickens to scare the monkey…..
It sounds as if Biden wants to be in wars.
That seems crazy, but we must believe what we see. “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.” 1713, Thomas Chalkley.
So, why? There are some possibilities. Picking one would be speculation, but after first Ukraine and now this, the behavior is undeniable for those not blind or deluded.
He always liked war, he could have sang bomb, bomb Iran with McCain.
He actively supported Bush’s Iraq invasion and has never said a word of regret, same goes for Afghanistan. He likes drones and illegal sanctions.
The idea of our defending Taiwan against an invasion from the mainland is insane. Fortunately, the mainland is not likely to launch such an invasion.
More likely a blockade. It would win rather quickly.
China could begin offering large numbers of scholarships to Taiwanese students. That would be much cheaper than a US style bludgeon attack on innocent people.
I think you might be right. If China went on a charm offensive, there is no doubt in my mind that they have more to offer Taiwan than we do.
Of course, that assumes they want to win the hearts and minds of the people. But our history suggests that we are sponsoring allies who can operate from within Taiwan. If that is the case, this isn’t really about winning hearts and minds.
You are correct unless China can engineer a serious brain drain of productive young people entering their career paths. Unenlightened US attitudes toward a leading Chinese space scientist persecuted by xenophobia when he was a younger space scientist in the US serves as an example. He moved to China and became a star in the Chinese space program.
I have the impression that our interest in Taiwan is primarily due to its experience in semi-conductors. But China already knows how to duplicate that. China already produces more efficient semi-conductors than the US. When we surpass them with 2 nm chips, they’ll just come back with their own solution (such as their 3D NAND chip and possibly their own improvements in lithography.)
I think the days of China looking to the US for technological innovation are over.
Mainland China has been developing both business and cultural contacts with Taiwan for some years now.
They are the single biggest investor in Taiwan, and Taiwan has invested more on the Mainland than anywhere else.
Education follows to the places where business is done. It has been. Chinese universities have become quite good at some things (not everything, but hey 1.4 billion people are not all entirely stupid).
Likewise, even American drug companies for example have been placing research contracts in China for over 10 years (I have family that has done some of that business), although they think they can limit intellectual property theft by placing smaller piecemeal contracts that “hide” the larger point — dream on.
The US deludes itself about the state of play.
“He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed.”
I don’t think he’s lying. It’s likely our policy was 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 to defend Taiwan… which tells China everything they need to know about trusting US Presidents.
Biden saying that stuff, and other government spokespersons saying the opposite, is the very definition of “strategic ambiguity.”
“Yes, we would … no, wait, actually we wouldn’t.”
Neither the PRC regime or the Taiwanese regime can tell what would happen. Ambiguous.
I guess the Presidency has returned to their old form ever since Kennedy – just a puppet.
Biden is duplicitous, and this hagiographic-fluff interview should bring Pelley shame.
He is claiming that an unprovoked attack on Taiwan is the equivalent of an unprovoked attack on the USA, thereby circumventing Congress. And Congress takes the spanking. What a bunch of masochists!
Biden is blowing smoke out of you know where. If the U.S. was foolish enough to engage China in a war in their backyard it would most likely be the end of the American Empire, and well deserved.
How come “the world” didn’t put sanctions on our “aggressions” in Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya?
And you’re being kind by not mentioning so many others. But like some of the people that comment here, it’s just from now on that the world should punish the belligerent aggressors. No talk of retroactive punishments for the number one amongst belligerents, the US. Or the number two, the little parasite latched to our underbelly sucking $4 billion a year from us.
SO many others.
Yes. I was thinking about elongating the word when I was typing it to emphasize just how many more.
Well, our senile president’s servility to the complex is well known, so this attempted creation of a Taiwanese Ukraine here for china is clear. But I continue to wonder what the Taiwanese people are thinking … do they want their country to be utterly destroyed?
The leaders don’t care and never have. They would get the first flight out.
You are right. But Taiwan is something of a democracy and there IS a major party that does NOT favor picking fights with China and instead favors just continuing the current situation.
But people are allowing themselves to be propagandized into support for full independence. Their choice, of course, but seems very short sighted when you consider things.
But the CIA has undercover agents all over the globe, the embassies are full of them and the state department finances the CIA and they can go for a regime change to get their government, see Ukraine. The weekly demonstrations in Hong Kong were professionally organized too, I am convinced of that, it is what the CIA does.
I knew a few of those Taiwanese leaders. They were making a lot of money, but they were not so rich they’d want just to run away somewhere with their more portable wealth. They are very actively cashing in still.
So the ones I know care, and want nothing to do with turning their own homes into another Ukraine.
They will tell lies to the people just as they told us and the people in NATO countries. They are good in manipulating people’s minds, most of all they excel in telling half truth.
It isn’t just the US. There are some within mainland China who wants to see a tougher stand and more action in response the the provocations. They want to be sure the China military isn’t a paper tiger too. They will be pushing the China govt to act
“marking the fourth time of his presidency that he’s made the pledge despite the long-standing US policy of strategic ambiguity.”
Give the man a break. He THINKS it’s the first time.
I would like to see him have a Dukakis moment, sitting in a tank, head protruding, as the fearless defender of Formosa. That is my vision.
Well the good new the US probably would not defend Taiwan from China, other than sending it weapons.
Good point. I’m not sure that even Estonia or Poland can actually depend on the US for boots on the ground.
Biden much prefers the “Lets you and 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 fight.” posture.
Have to say, Biden have proven a worse warmonger than Trump. Absolutely no fan of Trump, but even he didn’t make statements like this. And for what? Political points? Even if this is drag us into a war with China that will destroy us?
“Strategic Ambiguity”? Take two aspirins and call me in the morning…
6.5 billion in military aid? That sounds like “doing nothing”…
It will be interesting to see how this develops…. The phrase “nuclear options” keeps running in my brain…
China does have a nuclear deterrence, like Russia, that is why NATO does not dare to openly use boots on the ground. They are de facto at war with Russia and they do have NATO soldiers in Ukraine on a rotating basis.
This why we need age limits and psyc. tests
China already knows Biden is lying about adhering to the one China policy. So it doesn’t matter that Biden confirms the US will intervene if China attacks Taiwan.
It also doesn’t matter if the US does intervene – because the US can not defeat China over Taiwan. The real question is whether the US will use nuclear weapons once it recognizes that China has defeated the US in the conflict. Because if it does, the US will be facing China and Russia in a nuclear war.
The Biden administration is really the biggest danger to the planet. NATO states Biden in the lead has governments with people not fit for the job, Germany too has an administration of idiots, the UK just replaced one joker with another.
So sorry for the confusion, that was my error.
Indeed our official policy is the opposite of our constantly stated policy.
Joe Biden dreams of being in the history books, the genius that started a war with China over idiotic pre election political posturing and put the entire world at risk of annilhation because he never paid attention in world history and graduated with the literacy of an elementary school graduate.
Well, four things:
-If you have a policy of not stating the policy explicitly, then who does that FOUR TIMES anyway?
-So, it looks like Biden is trying to stoke tensions with China to have an outside threat to focus on before the midterms.
-China isn’t going to invade Taiwan. They didn’t do so throughout the entire Cold War, and they won’t now when they have deep trade ties with Taiwan and with the U.S. and Europe. China and Taiwan are closely integrated in many ways. It’s enough for now that Taiwan is full of Chinese and is doing business with them every day. Also it would be extremely difficult for them, which almost no one understand since people just look at a map and say, hey, Taiwan is small. Taiwan has U.S. long-range missiles that could sink Chinese ships even when they’re in port – not worth it for China.
-This is one of the few times I’ll say that yes, if there was a war and the U.S. could protect Taiwan, it should. The Taiwanese don’t want to be ruled by the dictatorship in Beijing. But there won’t be a war, even though some seem to hope for it.
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