December 4, 2022

In Tokyo, Biden says he is ready to use force to defend Taiwan

  • A White House official said there was no change in policy
  • China says US should not defend Taiwan’s independence
  • US wants to tighten policy without provoking Beijing – Analyst
  • Biden President’s first Asian trip to Japan

TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden said on Monday he was ready to use force to defend Taiwan, saying in Tokyo that there had been no change in US policy in his continued critical comments on China. Self-governing island.

During his first visit to Japan after taking office and during his visit to Japan, Fiden O’Brien’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appeared to be moving away from so-called US policy on Taiwan.

China considers the Democratic Island to be its territory, part of “a China” and says it is the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States.

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When asked by a reporter during a joint news conference with the Japanese leader if the United States would attack Taiwan, President Biden replied: “Yes.”

“That’s the commitment we made,” he said.

“We agree with a Chinese policy. We have signed it and signed all the proposed agreements since then. But it is not just the intention to take it by force, it is not appropriate.”

He added that his expectation was that such an event would not happen or should not be attempted.

A White House official said there was no change in policy on Taiwan following Biden’s comments. China’s Foreign Ministry says US should not protect Taiwan’s independence.

The president’s national security aides sat in their seats and seemed to read Biden closely as he answered questions about Taiwan. Many looked down when he made a vague commitment to Taiwan’s security.

Biden made a similar point about defending Taiwan in October. At the time, a White House spokesman said Biden had not announced any change in US policy, and one analyst called the comment “caucus.”

While the White House insisted Monday’s comments did not reflect a change in U.S. policy, Grand Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and now a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, said the meaning was clear.

“This report should be taken seriously,” Newsham said. “It is clear enough that the United States will not stand idly by if China attacks Taiwan.”

While Washington legislation should pave the way for Taiwan to defend itself, it has long pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether it will intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

‘Tighten up policy’

Biden made other harsh comments about China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region, saying he hoped Russian President Vladimir Putin would pay a price for his invasion of Ukraine.

“They are trying to tighten their policy, but they do not want to provoke China,” said James Brown, an associate professor at Temple University in Japan.

Biden’s comments are likely to obscure the beginnings of the Indo-Pacific economic structure, which is central to his trip to Japan, a broader project that will provide an economic backdrop for US engagement with Asia. read more

His trip will include meetings with leaders of the “Quad” group from Japan, India and Australia.

Kishida stressed that he was ready to take on Tokyo’s very strong defensive stance, which the United States has long welcomed.

Kishida told PTI that Japan would consider various options to enhance its defense capabilities, including the ability to retaliate, to mark a possible change in Japan’s security policy.

Its defense budget includes a “significant increase”, Kishida said.

Yoji Koda, a retired naval admiral and former naval commander, said Japan’s role in any conflict over Taiwan would enable the United States to carry out operations and protect its assets.

“Japan’s role in that will be significant. Japan is an assistant to that security bloc,” he said.

Amid growing calls for council reform, the UN Kishida said Biden had backed Japan to become a permanent member of the Security Council. China and Russia are permanent members.

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Report by Trevor Hannigat; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Sakura Murakami, Sang-Ron Kim, Nobuhiro Kubo, Daniel Lucink, Contoro Gomia, Ju-Min Park and Tim Kelly; Written by Elaine Lies and David Dolan; Editing by Robert Brussel

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