President Biden vowed that America was willing to go to war in order to defend Taiwan on Thursday night during a CNN Townhall event.
As Fox News reports:
“Are you saying the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China were to attack?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Biden to which the president responded, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
In spite of Biden’s rather blunt statement, the US is in fact not under treaty obligation to defend Taiwan:
The Taiwan Relations Act to which the United States is currently party does not guarantee the U.S. will engage militarily if China attacks Taiwan, which it has claimed for decades is sovereign Chinese territory, but states that the United States “will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain self-sufficient defense capabilities.”
U.S. presidents have pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” so that China would not know exactly what the U.S. response would be to an attack.
A Representative for the White House was later forced to walk back Biden’s statements:
WH Spox: “The President was not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy.”
Fine, but this isn’t the first time the WH has had to walk back Biden’s comments committing the US to Taiwan’s defense. https://t.co/dUggwT9U1J
— Alex Ward (@alexbward) October 22, 2021