The White House retracts President Joe Biden’s comments about sending US troops to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
Biden made the remarks during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday.
Correspondent Scott Pele asked the president whether US forces would defend Taiwan’s democratic government, whether China should draw inspiration from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and attack the self-governing island.
,[W]Will the US military defend the island?” Peli asked in a taped interview on Thursday.
“Yes, if there was indeed an unprecedented attack,” the president said.
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir – the US military, American men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Pele clarified.
“Yes,” Biden said.
However, after the interview, a White House official told “60 Minutes” that US policy regarding Taiwan had not changed.
The US maintains “strategic ambiguity” over whether US troops will defend Taiwan, but has pledged to help equip the island for its own defense under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Earlier this month, the State Department announced the sale of a $1.1 billion defense package to Taiwan – including anti-ship and air-to-air missiles.
“This package was in the works for some time as we expected it to be needed as China increased its pressure on Taiwan,” State Department spokesman Vedanta Patel said during a press briefing on September 6.
The sale sparked a backlash from China.
Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said the deal “seriously jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
However, Patel said there was no reason for China to react poorly as the systems are only for “defensive purposes” and the US has been providing defensive capabilities to the Democratic island for decades, while respecting its “one China” policy. which recognizes Taiwan as part of the country.
“In line with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States provides necessary defense articles and services to enable Taiwan to maintain an adequate self-defense capability,” he said. “I will note that since 2010, the executive branch has notified Congress of over $35 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.”