U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, prompting thanks from Taiwan but sharp criticism from China.
U.S. President Joe Biden said at a press conference after the U.S.-Japan summit that the U.S. would use military force to defend Taiwan. Although the White House clarified that U.S. policy remains unchanged, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also pointed out that the One China policy has not changed. However, this is the third time in his presidential tenure that Biden has made similar remarks regarding the Taiwan Strait issue during important occasions. Many Western and Japanese media believe that Biden's comments appeared to break Washington's long-held tradition of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan.
Sun Li-fang, Spokesperson, Ministry of National Defense: “Our armed forces are strengthened in their determination to protect our country and citizens. We will continue to closely cooperate with all like-minded countries, including the United States, to jointly defend the values of democracy and freedom, and to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Ministry of National Defense responded that the country's armed forces will work with the United States and other countries with similar ideals to jointly defend the Taiwan Strait and the peaceful and stable development of the Indo-Pacific region. In the confrontation between the two major powers of the U.S. and China, analysts view Biden's remarks of support for Taiwan as a deterrence to China from easily using force against the island nation. However, does it mean that the U.S. policy toward Taiwan is becoming more strategic? Analysts believe that Biden is still passively responding to the cross-strait situation and has not broken away from an ambiguous framework, but he has added more strategic clarity in regard to Taiwan.
Li Da-jung, Associate Professor, Institute of Int'l Affairs and Strategic Studies, TKU: “I don't think there is a clear possibility that in the short term, the U.S. will completely remove its strategic ambiguity. The State Department and the Department of Defense should have a corresponding response to a very clear policy change. Currently, there isn't one.”
Analysts are also observing whether Biden's supporting remarks intensify the confrontation between the Taiwan Strait, but Li Da-jung believes that China will not respond out of the ordinary, and will, as usual, condemn the U.S. as China recognizes that U.S. actions to strengthen the Indo-Pacific region are to contain China. Analysts say unless Biden takes a more affirmative action and announced a U-turn in his own administration's policies, the U.S. will still maintain a vague strategic framework, in order to have more flexibility in handling disputes across the Taiwan Strait.