Biden angers China with vow to defend Taiwan

President Joe Biden bet On Monday, U.S. forces would defend Taiwan’s military if China tried to take control of the island by force, prompting Beijing to warn that America was “playing with fire.”

Speaking in Tokyo, Biden compared China ‘s threat to autonomous Taiwan with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, giving his strongest views to date on the issue amid growing tensions over growing economic and military power in Beijing.

When asked if Washington was willing to join the military in defending Taiwan, he gave the unequivocal answer: “Yes… That’s the promise we made.”

“We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on,” said Biden – referring to Washington’s diplomatic recognition of Beijing as the only Chinese government.

“But the idea that it can be taken by force is not appropriate,” he said from Taiwan. “It would devolve the whole region and be another act similar to that of Ukraine.”

Beijing, which considers Taiwan a rebel province and has recently put more intense military pressure on the island, has warned that Washington is playing a dangerous game.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin affirmed that “China has no room for compromise or concessions,” in its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The United States is “playing with fire,” the Taiwan State Office of the State Council of China warned.

Washington is “using the ‘Taiwan card’ to hold China, and it will burn itself,” said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesman for the office.

Zhu urged “the United States to stop any statements or actions” that violate previously established principles between the two countries.

– Comparison of Taiwan with Ukraine –

Biden ‘s remarks, at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, offered her greatest reassurance to democratic Taiwan for many years but also added more uncertainty to the US’ s position.

Since transferring recognition to Beijing in 1979, the United States has been committed to providing Taiwan with means to defend itself but has maintained “strategic ambiguity” as to whether to intervene militarily.

The policy was designed to keep Beijing from declaring war and to stop Taiwan formally declaring independence.

But a growing U.S. constituency advocates a shift to “strategic clarity,” believing that an explicit pledge to protect Taiwan is needed to discourage an increasingly assertive and more powerful Beijing.

Biden compared the state of Taiwan directly with Ukraine, which received billions of dollars of arms and U.S. aid from the Russian invasion on February 24.

He said Western sanctions on Russia “long-term price” must be precise, because otherwise “what signal does that send to China about the cost of trying to take Taiwan by force?”

He warned that Beijing was “currently flirting with danger as it flew so close with every maneuver” – citing a growing number of Chinese missions, naval exercises and other power projections in the Taiwan Strait.

– ‘Policy has not changed’ –

However, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin argued that “US policy has not changed.”

Biden reaffirmed that policy, and our commitment to peace and stability across the Straits of Taiwan, ”Austin said.

“It also underlined our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act, to help Taiwan provide means to protect itself,” he said.

Biden’s views overshadowed his rollout of a new 13 – nation regional trade framework aimed at offsetting China’s commercial power as well as Tuesday’s meeting of the Quad group, an attempt by India, Australia, Japan and the US to check for an increase in Chinese naval power in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Kishida meanwhile called for stability in the Taiwan Strait and said Tokyo was committed to increasing its defense spending.

“Japan will fundamentally strengthen its defense capabilities, and to support this will significantly increase its defense spending,” he said.

“We do not rule out any options, including (acquiring) the ability to counter-attack,” he said.

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