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Blinken says US will ‘make sure Taiwan has the means to defend itself’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 14, 2021. Blinken was questioned about the Biden administration's handling of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the U.S. would ensure Taiwan had the ability to defend itself if attacked. 

“There is no change in our policy,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” before referring to “a long standing commitment pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act to make sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.”

“We stand by that,” the secretary of state added. “We want to make sure that no one takes any unilateral action that would disrupt the status quo with regard to Taiwan. That hasn’t changed.”

CNN’s Dana Bash repeatedly asked if Blinken could specifically confirm President Biden’s statement in a CNN town hall that the U.S. would protect Taiwan in the event of an attack from China.

At the time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president “wasn’t announcing a change in policy nor have we changed our policy.”

“Are you now saying that the United States would not come to Taiwan’s defense if attacked? Can you be specific, yes or no?” Bash asked.

“What I can tell you is that we remain committed, resolutely committed, to our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act, including making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself from any aggression,” Blinken replied.

“The president said specifically that the U.S. would, that’s not what you’re saying, correct?” Bash asked again.  

Blinken then reiterated that Biden had “made clear that we will do everything necessary to make sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.”

Earlier on Sunday, Blinken raised concerns during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the G-20 summit about China’s actions that “undermine the international rules-based order and that run counter to our values and interests and those of our allies and partners” including Taiwan.

Last week, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed U.S. troops were on the island.

“We have a wide range of cooperation with the U.S. aiming at increasing our defense capability,” she said of the troops.

The U.S. has long operated under a policy of “strategic ambiguity” in dealings related to Taiwan. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act calls for the U.S to “make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”

Tags Antony Blinken Dana Bash Joe Biden

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