The Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated concern that China could take similar action against the island nation of Taiwan. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan is neighbored by China to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and to its south lies the Philippines.
While Taiwan is a sovereign, democratically controlled state, China does not recognize this independence and insists Taiwan is part of its territory. U.S. President Joe Biden claimed that Beijing was “flirting with danger” with its recent drills and other military aggression focused on Taiwan.
Per NBC, at a news conference in Tokyo held on Monday, May 23, a reporter asked Biden if the American military would get involved to defend Taiwan should the need arise. Biden responded affirmatively, citing a commitment that was previously made to Taiwan.
However, a White House official quickly pointed out that this was not an impromptu change in America’s foreign policy. The official clarified the remarks as the President reiterated America’s “commitment to peace and stability” in this geographic region and the nation’s commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. This agreement will provide U.S. military support to Taiwan if needed.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that America’s One China Policy has not changed.
Wang Wenbin of the Chinese Foreign Ministry was not pleased with President Biden’s remarks. Specifically, he expressed “strong dissatisfaction” and “firm opposition” to the President’s response to a substantial question. Wenbin also warned the U.S. government about supporting Taiwan’s independence. He called the neighboring island an “inalienable part of Chinese territory” and cited the issue as an internal affair that had no need for external interference. He concluded that China has “no room for compromise” regarding central issues like its sovereignty.
Wenbin also advised that no one underestimates the will and ability of the Chinese people when it comes to defending this sovereignty.
On the flip side, the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Taiwan lauded President Biden’s comments. The ministry expressed its gratitude and thanked the United States government for its “rock solid” support of Taiwan.