September 22, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden firmly committed to military intervention in Taiwan if the country is invaded by China.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Biden made the boldest and most overt statement in support of Taiwan by an American President in decades.

The comments break from past presidents’ hesitance to push the People’s Republic on their “One-China” policy and America’s “strategic ambiguity.”

Taiwan was returned to China from Japan as part of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. When Mao Zedong’s communist regime won China’s civil war, China’s previous nationalist leader fled to Taiwan along with 1.5 million Chinese mainlanders. The U.S., embroiled in the Korean War and in the business of opposing communism worldwide, sent a fleet of warships to protect Taiwan from a mainland communist invasion. America has loosely upheld Taiwanese sovereignty ever since.

The White House walked back the comments saying they do not represent a change in policy. China strongly rebuked Biden’s remarks.

Biden specifically mentioned Ukraine in his comments, saying a Chinese use of force in Taiwan would play out similarly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Though the U.S. doesn’t officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, they support them with frequent weapons sales and run an unofficial embassy in the capital. But past presidents have long tip-toed around this issue, careful not to ruffle mainland China’s feathers. Donald Trump famously drew ire from China simply for taking a call from Taiwan’s president, resulting in a stern warning from then-President Obama.

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