During a television interview broadcast on the evening of Sunday, September 18 on the CBS channel, US President Joe Biden said that US troops would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Asked by Agence France-presse (AFP), a spokesman for the White House nevertheless affirmed on Sunday evening that the policy of the United States with regard to Taiwan does not“had not changed”.
To the question of whether “Americans would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion”the American leader replied: “Yes, if an unprecedented attack were to occur”. However, he made a point of emphasizing that he was not there “to encourage” the island to declare its independence. “It’s their decision”he specified.
China considers Taiwan, with a population of some 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime that once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.
Joe Biden had already angered Beijing by saying at the end of May that the United States would intervene militarily to support Taiwan in the event of an invasion by Communist China. He then went back, affirming his attachment to “strategic ambiguity”a deliberately vague concept that has governed US Taiwanese policy for decades.
Very strong tensions with China
Consisting of Washington refraining from saying whether or not the United States would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion, the“strategic ambiguity” has helped to maintain a certain stability in the region so far. Washington is also applying a “one China policy” : the United States officially recognizes only one Chinese government, that of Beijing.
But, at the same time, they are careful not to endorse Beijing’s position that Taiwan is an inalienable part of a single China that will one day be reunited. The United States believes that it is up to Beijing and Taipei to find a solution, but opposes any use of force to change the status quo. “We are in agreement with what we signed a long time ago”said Joe Biden during his interview.
His remarks, however, come after a significant rapprochement between the United States and Taiwan, at a time when relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest in decades. On Wednesday, a bill that provides for the first direct military aid from the United States to Taiwan passed a key stage in the American Congress. A few days earlier, Washington had announced the sale for 1.1 billion dollars of weapons to Taipei. In early August, a visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also angered Beijing. China had then launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around the island.
Ambiguity on a second candidacy in 2024
During this same interview, the American president also whistled the official end of the pandemic. ” [Elle] is over, we still have a problem with the Covid, we are devoting a lot of work to this file… but the pandemic is over”he told CBS. “If you look around, no one is wearing a mask, and everyone looks pretty good”he said. “So I think that’s changing. »
Finally, he left doubts about his possible candidacy in 2024, for a second term. ” My intention, as I said at the outset, is to represent myself “, he said, before adding: “ but that’s just an intention “, not one ” firm decision “.
The oldest president ever elected in the United States, Joe Biden will celebrate his 80th birthday on November 20. He would be 82 at the start of a possible second term, and 86 at the end. Since his election in November 2020, the president has however projected himself on numerous occasions into the 2024 election, indicating that he would again choose his current vice-president, Kamala Harris, to be his running mate.