US President Joe Biden says he would use force to defend Taiwan if it was attacked by China, appearing to signal a shift away from Washington’s decades-long policy of so-called strategic ambiguity towards the East Asian democracy.
Biden made the remarks on Monday while visiting Japan, where he is on the second leg of his first trip to East Asia since taking office last year. Responding to a reporter’s questions about Taiwan at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden said defending Taiwan was a “commitment we made”.
He said while the US agrees with the “one China policy” – which states there is a single China but does not define it – the idea that “Taiwan can be taken by force” is “not appropriate”.
He warned Beijing was already “flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the manoeuvres undertaken” – referring to a growing number of Chinese sorties, naval exercises and other power projection in the Taiwan Straits.
Beijing still claims Taiwan, whose formal name is the Republic of China, as a province and has not ruled out unifying the two sides by force.