Biden says he is ready to use force to defend Taiwan during the Asian tour

  • 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, while continuing to make critical remarks about China while in Asia. -Ruled island.

Biden’s comments came during his first visit to Japan since taking office and were viewed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as a departure from so-called US policy on Taiwan.

China regards the Democratic Islands as its territory under its “one China” policy, and says this is a very important and crucial issue in its relationship with Washington.

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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 from there. But it is not just the intention to take it by force, it is not appropriate.”

Biden said his expectation was that such an event would not happen or be attempted.

A White House official later said there had been no change in policy on Taiwan. 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.

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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 “Kauf”.

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 provide Taiwan with means of self-defense, it has long pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” as to whether it will intervene militarily to protect Taiwan during the Chinese offensive.

‘Tighten up policy’

Biden made other harsh comments about Beijing’s increasingly determined 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

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During his tour of Asia, Biden also plans to meet with the leaders of India and Australia – the other members of the Quattro, an informal security group formed to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

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

The Japanese leader told Python that Japan would consider various options to increase its security capabilities, including retaliation. 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 he had received Japan’s support 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 & Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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