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US forces would defend Taiwan if China invades, says Joe Biden

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President Joe Biden has reaffirmed that American military soldiers would defend Taiwan in the event that the Chinese military attempted to annex the island, which is governed democratically.

Less than 110 miles (177 kilometers) separate Taiwan from China's shore. The two sides have been administered separately for more than 70 years, but that hasn't stopped China's ruling Communist Party from claiming the island as its own despite never having had any kind of influence over it.

The head of China, Xi Jinping, has declared that the "reunification" of China and Taiwan is inevitable and has refused to rule out using force to achieve this goal. 

Beijing and Taipei are currently experiencing their worst level of hostility in decades as a result of the Chinese military conducting extensive military exercises close to the island.

On September 18, when Biden was a guest on CBS's "60 Minutes," the question of whether "US forces, US men and women would protect Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion," which US officials secretly worry is becoming more possible, was put to him.

"Yes," Biden said.


"It’s not the first time Biden has gone beyond the longstanding US approach of “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to the defense of Taiwan.

"Most recently, during a visit to Tokyo in May, Biden said the US would intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force. The White House was quick to downplay Biden’s previous comments on Taiwan."

In accordance with the "One China" policy, the US accepts China's assertion that Taiwan is a part of China, although it has never formally acknowledged the 23 million-person island's claim to self-government by the Communist Party. 

The US equips Taiwan with defensive armaments, but has purposefully avoided saying whether it would use force to defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack.


Biden repeated his commitment to the 'one China' policy.

"We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago. And that there’s ‘one China’ policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving – we’re not encouraging their being independent … That’s their decision,” he said.

Asked if US forces would defend the island, president Biden said they would: “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”



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