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Biden says US will defend Taiwan if China attacks

·2-min read
US president Joe Biden at a CNN town hall in Baltimore, Maryland  (AFP via Getty Images)
US president Joe Biden at a CNN town hall in Baltimore, Maryland (AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden has said the US would come to Taiwan‘s defence if China attacks.

The President reiterated on Thursday that the US has a commitment to defend the island, which China sees as its own territory.

Mr Biden said people should not worry about Washington’s military strength because “China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we’re the most powerful military in the history of the world”.

“What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake,” he added.

Military tensions between Taiwan and China are at their worst in more than 40 years, according to officials.

Taiwan’s defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said China will be capable of mounting a full scale invasion by 2025.

The country claims Taiwan as its own territory, which should be taken by force if necessary.

US President Joe Biden (AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden (AFP via Getty Images)

However, Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.

Mr Biden echoed Boris Johnson’s comments in June that he does not want a cold war with China.

But he said the US wants the country “to understand that we’re not going to step back” and change its views.

“What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake,” he added.

The US defence relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and the country has not changed its policy on the territory.

“We will uphold our commitment under the act, we will continue to support Taiwan‘s self-defence, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” a White House spokesperson said.

“The president was not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy.”

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the US and has denounced what it calls “collusion” between Washington and Taipei.

Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun said they are pursuing “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and responding to “separatist attempts” by its ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

“We are not the troublemaker. On the contrary, some countries - the US in particular - is taking dangerous actions, leading the situation in Taiwan Strait into a dangerous direction,” he said.

“I think at this moment what we should call is that the United States to stop such practice. Dragging Taiwan into a war definitely is in nobody’s interest. I don’t see that the United States will gain anything from that.”

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