11 June 2024

What to Make of Biden’s Latest Promise to Defend Taiwan

Dean P. Chen

U.S. President Joe Biden has reiterated, on multiple different occasions, that his administration would respond militarily if Taiwan was attacked by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Biden publicly made that pledge on at least six occasions: August 2021, October 2021, May 2022, September 2022, and twice in May of this year, once at the commencement address of West Point and the other during an interview with TIME magazine.

“The U.S. is standing up for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the president said at West Point on May 25. He added pointedly, “I’ve always been willing to use force when required to protect our nation, our allies, our core interests.”

On May 28, when asked by the TIME interviewers to clarify his military defense statement of the democratic island, he replied: “It would depend on the circumstances. You know… I’ve made clear to [Chinese President] Xi Jinping that we agree with – we signed on to previous presidents going way back – to the policy of, that, it is we are not seeking independence for Taiwan nor will we, in fact, not defend Taiwan if they if, if China unilaterally tries to change the status. And so we’re continuing to supply capacity. And, and we’ve been in consultation with our allies in the region.”

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