US President Joe Biden’s remarks that US troops would help defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion “speak for themselves,” US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Monday, adding that US policy on Taiwan remains consistent and unchanged.
In a prerecorded interview with the CBS show 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday, Biden told host Scott Pelley that the US would defend Taiwan “if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US forces — US men and women — would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Pelley asked.
“Yes,” Biden said.
After the interview, a White House official said US policy on Taiwan had not changed, according to 60 Minutes.
Campbell said he did not believe it was appropriate to describe the White House statement “as walking back the president’s remarks.”
Photo courtesy of the Control Yuan
“The president’s remarks speak for themselves. I do think our policy has been consistent and is unchanged and will continue,” he said during an online conference organized by the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The US’ primary goal is to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait to secure and stabilize the “status quo,” make sure there is healthy dialogue between the sides and try to avoid escalation, he said.
Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) told reporters in Washington that she believed Biden “speaks his mind.”
Taipei and Washington would continue to work closely to maintain peace and security in the region, and maintain the “status quo,” she added.
Taiwanese academics said that Biden’s remark is meant to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to Taipei and deter Beijing.
Biden is gradually moving away from “strategic ambiguity,” because he has full confidence in President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) pledge to maintain the “status quo,” said Shen Ming-shih (沈明室), director of the National Security Research Division at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
Taiwan’s restraint in response to China’s increasingly assertive military coercion has assured Biden that Taipei would not take any aggressive action, Shen said.
Taiwan’s actions have been defensive in nature and are meant to bolster its sovereignty instead of declaring independence, he added.
Biden’s remarks also express a tougher stance against China following Beijing’s drills around Taiwan last month, with an eye on the US midterm elections, said Shen, a retired army infantry battalion commander.
Chieh Chung (揭仲), an associate defense research fellow at the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation think tank, said he believed the US “would definitely in some way intervene” if China launched a full-scale invasion of Taiwan.
Washington would not sit idly by if Beijing attempted to unilaterally change the “status quo” in the west Pacific by force, because that would undermine the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy and lead other US allies to question its leadership, he said.
However, Chieh said he was concerned because Washington does not have a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan and Beijing has nuclear weapons.
Washington could intervene “too late” and deploy “too few” military resources to aid Taiwan, he added.
During the interview Biden also said that “Taiwan makes their own judgements about their independence. We are not encouraging their being independent. That’s their decision.”
His critics said that China could perceive the comments as tacit support for an independence declaration.
They added that his comments are more likely to aggravate hostilities than overt defense commitments, as Beijing already likely assumes Washington would defend Taiwan.
“It is incoherent to argue that America’s Taiwan policy has not changed while also claiming that the US has a commitment to fight for Taiwan and that Taiwan makes its own judgements about independence,” said Craig Singleton, a China policy expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Beijing will likely worry that Biden is suggesting Taiwan can decide for itself whether it is independent, he added.
TAIWAN PROTECTION MEASURE: US Army General Charles Flynn would not say where in the Asia-Pacific the missiles would be sent, but only that they would arrive in 2024 The US is to send medium-range missiles including the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk to the Asia-Pacific next year to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US military news Web site Defense One reported. The report cited comments US Army General Charles Flynn made during the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Nov. 19. “We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Flynn was quoted as saying. “In 24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and