The US and its allies would take unspecified “action” if China were to use force to alter the “status quo” over Taiwan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.
Blinken was asked at a forum hosted by the New York Times whether the US would step in to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China. He repeated regular US statements that Washington’s role is to make sure the island has the means to defend Taiwan, as is required under US law.
“At the same time, I think it’s fair to say that we’re not alone in this determination to make sure that we preserve peace and stability in that part of the world,” Blinken said.
“There are many countries, both in the region and beyond, that would see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they too would take action in the event that that happens,” he added.
Blinken did not say what sort of action he was referring to.
US President Joe Biden caused a stir last month when he said the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked.
Those remarks appeared to depart from a long-held policy of “strategic ambiguity,” not making clear how the US would respond. The White House quickly said Biden was not signaling a change in policy, and some analysts dismissed his comments as a gaffe.
US Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the influential US House Intelligence Committee, last week urged the Biden administration to be less ambiguous about what he called a US obligation to defend Taiwan from attack by China.
Blinken’s remarks came ahead of a virtual meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), which a source briefed on the matter said would be held as soon as next week.
Asked if the meeting would happen next week, Blinken said only that it was “coming up soon.”
In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of North American Affairs Deputy Director-General Regine Chen (陳慧蓁) said senior US officials have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to Taiwan against Chinese military intimidation.
The government would continue to deepen cooperation with the US and other like-minded nations to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait and Indo-Pacific region, she added.
As for the planned virtual meeting between Biden and Xi, the ministry said it would coordinate closely with the US to ensure that its policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged.
In other developments, a US congressional delegation comprised of US senators John Cornyn, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Crapo and Mike Lee, as well as US Representative Jake Ellzey, who arrived in Taiwan on a US military transport plane on Tuesday, departed yesterday after a visit to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) in Hsinchu.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan and staff writer
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