Map of China and Taiwan

“Yes. That’s the commitment we made.”

Pres. Biden on whether the U.S. would militarily defend Taiwan if needed — a much more direct response than usual about American policy in the region.

Published on

may 23, 2022

Why It Matters: America has maintained a policy often referred to as "strategic ambiguity" regarding Taiwan and China. China considers Taiwan part of its own territory; Taiwan considers itself independent. America has walked a tightrope between these two beliefs, both supporting a "One China" policy (China's sovereignty over what it considers its own territory) and supporting Taiwan's independence economically and militarily. President Biden's comments, speaking to America's military defense of Taiwan, have ignited headlines worldwide because his apparent direct support for Taiwan does not seem to be ambiguous at all.

  • The president also said this: “We agree with the One China policy and all the attendant agreements we made. But the idea that it (Taiwan) can be taken by force, just taken by force, would just not be appropriate. It would dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. So, it’s a burden that is even stronger.”
  • The White House has tried to clarify the president's statement, saying he was referring to *helping* Taiwan bolster its *own* defense.
  • China has responded: "We urged the US side to earnestly follow the One China principle ... be cautious in words and deeds on the Taiwan issue, and not send any wrong signal to pro-Taiwan independence and separatist forces — so it won't cause serious damage to the situation across the Taiwan Strait and China-US relations."
  • Also important: Taiwan is a major producer of semiconductors — the miniature "brain" microchips we need for so many things, from our phones to our cars. The consistent manufacturing of semiconductors is important worldwide for both China and the U.S., and adds another dynamic to this conversation.

Biden says US willing to respond 'militarily' in event of Chinese attack on Taiwan

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