US President Joe Biden open to military action if China invades Taiwan

Biden said he had communicated to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the United States would not seek independence for Taiwan, which was in line with Washington's long-standing agreement with Beijing. However, he affirmed that the US would continue to support Taiwan's defence capabilities.

Livemint (with inputs from ANI)
Published5 Jun 2024, 10:14 AM IST
U.S. President Joe Biden discusses Taiwan's defense strategy in an exclusive interview with Time magazine, emphasizing the potential use of American military force amid rising tensions with China.
U.S. President Joe Biden discusses Taiwan’s defense strategy in an exclusive interview with Time magazine, emphasizing the potential use of American military force amid rising tensions with China.(AP Photo / David Yeazell)

US President Joe Biden has not ruled out the possibility of using American military force to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. In an interview published on Tuesday in Time magazine, Biden made clear his position on Taiwan's defence, emphasising the distinction between different types of military deployment as per an ANI report.

“Not ruling out using US military force. There's a distinction between deploying on the ground, air power and naval power,” he said during the exclusive interview conducted at the White House on May 28, as quoted by ANI.

Biden also said that he had communicated to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the United States would not seek independence for Taiwan, which was in line with Washington's long-standing agreement with Beijing. However, he affirmed that the US would continue to support Taiwan's defence capabilities. “If China tries to change the status quo unilaterally, we're continuing to supply capacity [to Taiwan],” he said. “We've been in consultation with our allies in the region,” he added, as quoted by ANI.

When asked if the US military would launch strikes from its bases in Japan or the Philippines in the event of a conflict, Biden responded, “I can't get into that. You would then criticise me with good reason if I were to tell you.”

The Time article also cited US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, who revealed that Xi instructed his military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027. Tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan have been high despite Biden and Xi agreeing to ease these tensions in recent talks.

Taiwan's new President, Lai Ching-te, a separatist in Beijing's eye

Beijing views Taiwan's new President, Lai Ching-te, as a “separatist” and supporter of Taiwan's independence. Shortly after Lai Ching-te's swearing-in on May 20, China conducted military drills around Taiwan, which it described as “punishment” for separatist actions. These drills followed Lai's inaugural speech, in which he called on Beijing to stop intimidating Taiwan.

The United States maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan and supplies the island with arms to ensure it can defend itself. Addressing China's economic status, Biden told Time magazine, “Where is it coming from? Where is it going to grow? You've got an economy that's on the brink there. The idea that their economy is booming? Give me a break.”

Biden also criticised China's Belt and Road Initiative, describing it as a “nuisance graveyard initiative.” He emphasised the importance of expanding cooperation with European and Asian allies and strengthening relations with developing countries to maintain US leadership in the international community.

During a trilateral ministerial meeting in Singapore on June 2, attended by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin, Japan's Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, and South Korea's Minister of National Defence Shin Won-sik, the officials reaffirmed their nations' position on Taiwan, calling for a peaceful resolution to cross-strait issues. They emphasised that regional peace is essential for international security and prosperity.

Austin also met with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, marking the first in-person talks between the defence chiefs of the two countries since November 2022. Austin expressed concerns about China's “provocative” military activities near Taiwan.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the US House Appropriations Committee introduced a bill to provide USD 500 million in foreign military financing for Taiwan to strengthen deterrence across the Taiwan Strait. The Fiscal Year 2025 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Bill also seeks to offer Taiwan up to USD 2 billion in loans and loan guarantees for the same purpose, according to the committee's report in Focus Taiwan.

(With Inputs from ANI)

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First Published:5 Jun 2024, 10:14 AM IST
HomeNewsWorldUS President Joe Biden open to military action if China invades Taiwan

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