Biden says ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan not dead
President Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. still abides by the policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, a day after he made waves by saying in no uncertain terms that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
“No,” Biden told reporters during an event in Japan when asked if the policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan was “dead.”
“The policy has not changed at all,” Biden added. “I stated that when I made my statement yesterday.”
Biden’s earlier remarks suggested he was moving away from decades of U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” through which the U.S. avoids laying out a specific response were Taiwan to come under attack from China, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory.
During a press conference on Monday, the president responded in the affirmative when asked if the U.S. was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it fell under attack from China.
“That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “We agree with the ‘One China’ policy … but the idea that to be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate.”
But the White House swiftly sought to walk back the remarks, saying they didn’t represent a change in U.S. policy. Biden’s comments Tuesday at the end of an event for the Quad alliance echoed that clarification.
The sequence of events created confusion and China reacted angrily to the initial statement, which was the third time since Biden took office that he has suggested the U.S. would defend Taiwan if Beijing tried to invade the island.
While some have dismissed Biden’s initial comment as a blunder, others in the national security community increasingly believe that Biden’s comments were a deliberate reflection of his own view on the situation.
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