Biden Says U.S. Would Defend Taiwan Against China, Prompting Clarification From White House

On Thursday, President Joe Biden stated that the U.S. was committed to defending Taiwan. Taiwan is under increasing military and political pressure from China. The White House clarified that the U.S. policy toward the island, which China claims as part of its territory, has not changed.

Joe Biden, the US President, participates in a CNN Town Hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore. AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Biden was asked if the U.S. would help Taiwan defend itself. He made the comment at a CNN Town Hall event. Reuters reported that the White House immediately clarified that the U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed and that it is still guided under the Taiwan Relations Act. The act requires the U.S. to assist Taiwan in its self-defense, but does not guarantee Washington's military intervention if the Chinese military invade the island. Biden's statement comes as Taiwan is under increasing military pressure from China. In October, there were more than 150 Chinese military aircraft in Taiwan's airspace.

Important Quote

Biden stated that people shouldn't be concerned about U.S. military power, despite concerns over the country's withdrawal from Afghanistan. The rest of the world knows that China, Russia, and the United States are the strongest military nations in history. What you need to worry about is if they will engage in activities that could lead to serious mistakes.

Important Background

Some questions were raised regarding Washington's willingness and ability to defend its allies after the U.S. military's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan following a Taliban takeover. Biden quickly refuted that idea and stated in an August interview to ABC News that the U.S. would always protect key allies like Taiwan. Biden stated that the US had made a sacred promise to protect NATO allies in Canada, Europe, and Taiwan. In an August interview, he also said that the U.S. would always defend key allies, including Taiwan.

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Biden pledges to defend Taiwan in case of Chinese attack (CNN).

Joe Biden suggests that the US would defend Taiwan against China. This is prompting fresh White House clarifications (Guardian).