President Joe Biden on Monday said the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense militarily if China invades and tries to take over the self-ruled island by force.
After Biden made a similar comment about defending Taiwan in October, the White House emphasized there was no change in policy.
On Monday, both Biden and Japanese PM Kishida said they still support the “One China” policy that recognizes there is only one Chinese government.
“But that does not mean that China has the jurisdiction to go in and use force to take over Taiwan,” Biden said. “It will dislocate the entire region.”
That’s one of the reasons why, he said, Russia must pay a “dear price” for its invasion of Ukraine. If Russia is not held accountable, Biden continued, “then what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting, of attempting, to take Taiwan by force?”
“They’re already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers that are undertaken,” he said.
China views Taiwan as part of its territory while Taiwan sees itself as an independent, sovereign nation. The U.S. has long tried to navigate a fraught middle ground that aims to support Taiwan without infuriating China.
One of the purposes of Biden’s five-day trip to Asia was to send the message that he’s still paying attention to the region despite the war in Ukraine.