Biden: US would defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion

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BEIJING — President Joe Biden has said US forces will defend Taiwan if China attempts to invade the self-governing island claimed by Beijing as part of its territory, adding to displays of official US support for island democracy.

Asked during a Sunday interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” if “American forces, American men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion,” Biden replied, “Yes.”

CBS News reported that the White House said after the interview that US policy had not changed. This policy indicates that Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully, but does not say whether US forces could be sent in response to a Chinese attack.

Biden’s comments come amid growing tension over Taiwan following efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to intimidate the island by firing missiles into the sea and flying fighter jets near and visits to Taipei by political figures, including US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Washington is obligated by federal law to ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself but does not say whether US forces would be sent. The United States has no formal relations with the island but maintains informal diplomatic relations.

Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the Communist Party ruling the mainland. The two governments say they are one country but argue over who has the right to be the national leader.

Beijing criticizes official foreign contacts with Taiwan’s elected government as an encouragement to make its de facto independence permanent, a step the mainland says would lead to war.

Washington says it does not support formal independence for Taiwan, a stance repeated by Biden in the interview aired Sunday.

“Taiwan makes its own judgments about its independence,” the president said. “We do not encourage their independence.”

In May, Biden said “yes” when asked at a press conference in Tokyo if he was prepared to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded.

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ABC

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