Biden: U.S. forces would defend Taiwan if China's military invaded
President Biden again vowed in an interview Sunday that American forces would defend Taiwan if China's military invaded the self-governing island — prompting the White House to stress that U.S. policy hasn't changed on the matter.
Driving the news: Biden said during an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" airing Sunday that U.S. forces would defend the democratically run island "if in fact there was an unprecedented attack."
- A White House official said after the interview that the U.S. government's long-running policy of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan had not changed, per CBS News.
- Each time, White House officials stressed that U.S. policy that considers Taiwan as part of "one China" hadn't changed.
Context: Under this policy, the U.S. opposes any attempts to change the island's self-governing, democratic status by force.
Worth noting: Biden emphasized during his "60 Minutes" interview, recorded before he flew to the U.K. to attend Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, that his administration agreed with the long-standing U.S. "one-China" policy.
- "Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence," he said. "We're not encouraging their being independent."
What they're saying: "The President has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year," a White House spokesperson said in a statement to news outlets. "He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn't changed. That remains true."
Meanwhile, Taipei's Foreign Ministry thanked Biden, emphasizing the "U.S. government's rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan," per Reuters.
State of play: China's ruling Communist Party did not immediately respond to Biden's comments, but tensions between Beijing and Washington have been heightened since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month.
- China's military responded by holding live-fire drills near Taiwan.
- Several U.S. officials have visited Taipei since then, despite warning of consequences if American officials continued to visit Taiwan.
More from Axios:
- Beijing removes pledge not to send troops to Taiwan in new policy
- Chinese invasion of Taiwan may come sooner than expected
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.