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Biden’s vow to protect Taiwan, overturned by White House, could signal internal political debate, experts say

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Biden’s vow to protect Taiwan, overturned by White House, could signal internal political debate, experts say

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President Biden’s statement last week, later echoed by the White House, that the United States would protect Taiwan in the event of an attack on Beijing, could be a window into an ongoing political debate over the administration’s strategy Biden in the area, experts told Fox News.

“China, Russia and the rest of the world know that we have the most powerful army in the history of the world. Don’t worry about whether we are going to do it – they are going to be more powerful,” Biden said. in CNN Town Hall. “What you need to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that will put them in a position where they could make a big mistake.”

AFTER BIDEN SAYS WE WILL DEFEND TAIWAN FROM ATTACK, CHINA SAYS THERE IS “NO ROOM FOR COMPROMISE”

Emphasizing more on whether the United States would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack, Biden added, “Yes. Yes, we are committed to doing that.”

The remark quickly made headlines, as US policy for decades has been one of “strategic ambiguity” as to how it would react to such an attack. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 commits the United States to support Taiwan, in particular by providing it with defensive capabilities, but not necessarily to engage in military conflict.

October 18, 2021: President Joe Biden dons his mask as he returns to the Oval Office. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Beijing, meanwhile, sees Taiwan as a separatist province and claims it is part of its own territory. The two countries separated in 1949 and China increased the pressure on the autonomous nation, while opposing its involvement in international organizations. The United States does not formally recognize Taiwan, but maintains an informal alliance.

Calls have been made for the United States to move away from strategic ambiguity and instead move towards a policy of strategic clarity in the face of growing aggression from Beijing – which has seen the Communist regime send dozens of military planes to Taiwan.

After Biden’s remarks, the White House quickly clarified the comment and said the president was not abandoning strategic ambiguity.

A White House spokesperson told Fox News after the town hall that Biden “was not announcing any change in our policy and there was no change in our policy.”

“The United States’ defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act,” the spokesperson said. “We will honor our commitment under the law, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral change in the status quo.”

BIDEN COMMITS TO DEFEND TAIWAN IF CHINA ATTACK

While this has led many to speculate that it was another blunder by a president known to them, experts told Fox News it could also provide a window into ongoing political discussions about the position. the United States.

“I was surprised when Biden made these comments, I wasn’t surprised the White House was bringing them back and I don’t think the White House bringing them back means Biden doesn’t mean what he said” Isaac Stone Fish, CEO of Strategy Risks, a company that measures Chinese risk, told Fox News.

“It’s really hard to know, they backed off because Biden had misspoken, they did it because it was the plan from the start, and Biden maybe was saying something they would counter to make them less harsh? ” he said. “Did they bring them back as a reflection of a political dispute within the White House when some parts of the State Department want him to be slightly less aggressive than how Biden is presenting him? It’s hard to know what it means.”

Heino Klinck, former Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia under the Trump administration, said taking Biden at his word “it would have meant a significant policy shift of strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity and that would have been significant. “

“There are more and more voices calling on the United States to move from a policy of strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity vis-à-vis Taiwan,” he said. “I imagine that in political circles there is a debate as to whether it would be in the national security interests of the United States to make such a change and again, if it should. happen, that would be important. “

China, meanwhile, was generally prickly in its response to Biden’s statements.

“No one should underestimate the steadfast determination, determination and ability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, according to the Chinese Global Times. “China has no room for compromise.”

Klinck said that was to be expected, given that “there is no more sensitive issue than Taiwan when it comes to Beijing.”

“Overall, China is concerned that the potential development of US defense policy regarding Taiwan will embolden Taiwan and advance the independence movement,” he said.

“Anytime a US official makes a comment about Taiwan in regards to strengthening the relationship or even implies that the relationship is going to be strengthened, China will vehemently push back.”

THE CHINESE AGGRESSION ON TAIWAN TESTS US TO RESOLVE THE WAKE OF THE WITHDRAWAL OF AFGHANISTAN, ACCORDING TO EXPERTS

Stone Fish warned that there is also a difference between how the comment is received in Beijing and how he describes how this information was received as he seeks to spot the US position.

“I think one of the things Beijing is doing with its aggression against Taiwan is trying to test the United States on its red lines and what Beijing should do to trigger a US military response,” he said. declared. “So in some ways what the United States is trying to do is clarify its position vis-à-vis Taiwan and there is a lot of strategic ambiguity in these policies, but Beijing wants to know what it is. ‘they can do without the United States responding so that when they feel confident to mount a real attack, they are much more in place than they otherwise would be. “

As a sign of this continuing tension, in an interview with CNN this week, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen admitted that US troops were in Taiwan for training purposes – a move, according to the Chinese Global Times. , “set foot on the red line”.

On Saturday, China’s foreign minister issued a stern statement warning G20 countries that countries will “pay a price” to support Taiwan.

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“Recently, the United States and other countries have attempted to make inroads on the Taiwan issue, which is in violation of the political guarantees they gave when they established diplomatic relations with [the People’s Republic of] China, ”Wang Yi said, according to Politico.

“If they couldn’t stop the one-China principle 50 years ago, it’s even more impossible in today’s world in the 21st century,” Wang added. “If they go ahead anyway, they will certainly pay a price for it.”

Fox News’s Tyler Olson and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.

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