President Joe Biden warned on Monday that China was “flirting with danger” and said the United States would defend Taiwan militarily if Beijing invaded, the second time in eight months he has made that vow.
“That’s the commitment we made,” he said when asked if Washington would intervene militarily against an attempt to forcibly take control of self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province to be unified with the mainland.
“We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it… but the idea that (Taiwan) can be taken by force is just not appropriate.
“It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
Biden directly linked the outcome of Western attempts to help Ukraine repel the Russian invasion with lessons likely to be learned in Beijing regarding Taiwan.
It’s “important that Putin pay a price for his barbarism in Ukraine”, Biden said. “Russia has to pay a long-term price.”
This is “not just about Ukraine”, Biden said, because China is watching to see if Western pressure on Russia slacks off.
“What signal does that send to China about the cost of… attempting to take Taiwan by force?” he asked, adding that China does not have “jurisdiction to take Taiwan by force”.
Signalling that he expects an invasion “will not happen”, Biden said however that this “depends… how strong the world makes clear” there would be a price for an invasion.
A White House official said Biden’s comments were in line with existing US policy on Taiwan.
“Our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China Policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the official said.
“He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”