Tokyo, May 23 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden said Monday the US military would intervene if China tried to annex Taiwan forcibly.
“That is the commitment we made,” Biden said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.
“We agree with a One-China policy. We have signed on to it and all the intended agreements made from there. But the idea that, that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not, is just not appropriate,” he said.
Biden warned the Chinese “are already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers that are undertaken.”
It was for the first time in recent times a US president has so explicitly talked about a possible US military intervention if China were to invade Taiwan, governed autonomously since 1949.
The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.
In 1979, Washington broke its official diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei.
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act necessitates the US to ensure Taiwan has military resources to defend itself from any external invasion.
The US president’s comments were likely to invite a sharp reaction from China which considers Taiwan a rebel province and seeks its reunification with the mainland and has not ruled out the use of force.
Biden also compared a hypothetical invasion of Taiwan to the Russian war against Ukraine.
The sanctions imposed by the international community on Russia sent a signal to China “about the cost of attempting to take Taiwan by force,” said Biden.
The president discussed Taiwan during a summit with Kishida in Tokyo.
The meeting focused on boosting “cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues,” a White House statement said.
The two leaders “strongly opposed any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea, and reiterated their strong opposition to China’s unlawful maritime claims, militarization of reclaimed features, and coercive activities in the South China Sea.”
The two also “expressed concern about the increasing activities of Russian military forces around Japan, and committed to remain attentive to cooperation between China and Russia in military affairs,” the White House statement said.
Kishida said he and Biden “stressed the importance of ensuring peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is an essential element for the peace and prosperity of the international community.”
“We also urged for a peaceful solution to the cross-strait issue,” he added, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
The Japanese leader said he also announced his resolve to secure a larger defense budget, which Biden strongly supported.
“We also agreed to expand and deepen our Japan-US cooperation to ensure security,” he said. EFE
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