“Look, here it is,” Biden told reporters during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo. “We agree with the one-China policy. We signed it, and all the agreements that came with it were made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, only by force, is (not) appropriate.”
The president has made similar statements in the past, only for the White House to say that long-standing US policy toward the self-governing island has not changed. The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been intentionally ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.
Under the “one China” policy, the United States recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never formally recognized Beijing’s claim to the island of 23 million people.
In a statement following Biden’s remarks on Monday, a White House official said the official US position had not changed. “As the president said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated the one-China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with military means to defend itself,” the official said.
Taiwan lies less than 110 miles (177 kilometers) off the coast of China. For more than 70 years, the two sides have been ruled separately, but that hasn’t stopped China’s ruling Communist Party from claiming the island as its own – even though it has never controlled it.
In recent weeks, Beijing has sent dozens of warplanes to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable while refusing to rule out the use of force.
Biden compared a possible invasion of Taiwan by China to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, warning, “It will lead to turmoil in the entire region,” and stressing that “Russia must pay a long-term price for its actions.”
“And the reason why I bother to say this is, not just about Ukraine — if there is a rapprochement … between the Ukrainians and Russia, and these sanctions have not in many ways lasted, what signal does that send to China about the cost of trying to take Taiwan by force?
Biden said China is “already overlooking the danger right now by flying very close and all the maneuvers that they’re doing.”
“But the United States is committed, we have made a commitment, we support the one-China policy, we support everything we’ve done in the past, but that doesn’t mean, that doesn’t mean that China has the ability, it has, excuse me, the jurisdiction to enter and use force to control Taiwan.”
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