US President Joe Biden says the United States would come to Taipei’s defense, claiming it had a commitment to defend the self-ruled island China asserts sovereignty over.
“Are you saying the US would come to” Taipei’s defense “if China were to attack?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Biden on Thursday night to which the president responded, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. Beijing also opposes other countries pursuing ties with the island and has consistently warned Washington and other countries against engaging with Taipei.
Biden’s remarks come as the US military announced Sunday that an American warship and a Canadian warship had sailed through the Taiwan Strait last week in what China called an attempt “to provoke and stir up trouble” in the strait.
The US military dispatched Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey through the waterway that separates China from Chinese Taipei, which Beijing considers a part of the mainland.
The Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg also went through the waterway.
Both ships sailed through the waterway on Thursday and Friday, according to the US military.
On Sunday, the Chinese military condemned the US and Canada for each sending a warship, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.
“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardizing peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” said China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command. “Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”
China has accused Washington of heightening tensions in the region by sending warships that have been traveling through the Taiwan Strait about every month.
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed that Chinese Taipei would be peacefully reunified with China and he and Biden agreed to abide by a pre-existing agreement regarding the island’s status.
Meanwhile, Biden on Thursday night dismissed the idea that he wants to start another cold war with China.
“I don’t want a cold war with China,” Biden said. “I just want China to understand that we are not going to step back and we are not going to change any of our views.”
The US and China are at loggerheads over issues, including alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and Beijing’s policies in regard to Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and the disputed territories in the South China Sea, as well as the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.