The US military would defend Taiwan against a possible Chinese invasion. US President Joe Biden said this during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, following his first visit to Asia.
The announcement comes after China recently significantly increased its defence budget amid territorial disputes over the South and East China Seas including Japan and threats against Taiwan.
When asked whether the US could intervene militarily if China invades Taiwan, Biden replied “yes.” “We agree with the One China policy, but the idea that it can be enforced by force is just not appropriate,” the president said. “That would disrupt the whole region and would be similar to what is happening in Ukraine.”
With the ruling, Biden is distancing himself from past US policies based on a so-called “strategic ambiguity” surrounding China. Still, the president said on Monday that China’s policy has not changed. A White House spokesman also confirmed that the US still stands behind the One China policy and the agreement with Taiwan to provide the island with military means to defend itself.
Biden also announced that Washington and Japan will work more closely to counter China’s increasingly dominant behaviour in violation of international law. The Japanese prime minister also stated that he plans to drastically increase defence spending.
The US president also announces during his first visit to Asia that 13 countries will be part of the new US economic partnership in the Asia-Pacific region. That Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is not a free trade agreement but provides for more cooperation in four areas: the digital economy, supply chains, green energy and the fight against corruption.