China furious as US vows to defend Taiwan militarily

Biden’s comments appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) and his wife Yuko Kishida welcome US President Joe Biden at Hoppoen garden for dinner in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday. AP PREMIUM
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) and his wife Yuko Kishida welcome US President Joe Biden at Hoppoen garden for dinner in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday. AP
Updated on May 24, 2022 03:47 PM IST
Copy Link

China on Monday warned the US should not underestimate its “strong ability” to safeguard the country’s territory after President Joe Biden said in Tokyo that Washington could “militarily” defend Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, which Beijing says is a breakaway region and has not ruled out using force to reunify it.

No one should underestimate China’s “firm resolve, staunch will and strong ability” to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Biden was asked directly if the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded at a press conference in Tokyo earlier in the day.

“Yes... that’s the commitment we made,” Biden said, referring to an agreement between Washington and Taipei.

“They (China) are already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the manoeuvres that they are undertaking,” Biden said, referring to the increasing instances of Chinese fighter jets flying into Taiwan’s self-declared air defence zone across the Taiwan Strait.

Biden’s comments appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials.

White House officials later said that Biden simply meant the US would provide military equipment to Taiwan, not send troops to defend the island if China attacks, which would constitute a landmark shift in policy.

Biden’s east Asia tour, Tuesday’s Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad summit and the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy have already come under sharp criticism from China, which has said the bloc is inciting confrontation in the region.

Taiwan cheers Biden’s remarks on defence

Taipei cheered Biden’s remarks, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou expressing “sincere welcome and gratitude” for the comments. “The challenge posed by China to the security of the Taiwan Strait has drawn great concern in the international community,” said Ou. “Taiwan will continue to improve its self-defence capabilities, and deepen cooperation with the United States and Japan and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the security of the Taiwan Strait and the rules-based international order, while promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

China on Monday warned the US should not underestimate its “strong ability” to safeguard the country’s territory after President Joe Biden said in Tokyo that Washington could “militarily” defend Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, which Beijing says is a breakaway region and has not ruled out using force to reunify it.

No one should underestimate China’s “firm resolve, staunch will and strong ability” to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Biden was asked directly if the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded at a press conference in Tokyo earlier in the day.

“Yes... that’s the commitment we made,” Biden said, referring to an agreement between Washington and Taipei.

“They (China) are already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the manoeuvres that they are undertaking,” Biden said, referring to the increasing instances of Chinese fighter jets flying into Taiwan’s self-declared air defence zone across the Taiwan Strait.

Biden’s comments appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials.

White House officials later said that Biden simply meant the US would provide military equipment to Taiwan, not send troops to defend the island if China attacks, which would constitute a landmark shift in policy.

Biden’s east Asia tour, Tuesday’s Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad summit and the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy have already come under sharp criticism from China, which has said the bloc is inciting confrontation in the region.

Taiwan cheers Biden’s remarks on defence

Taipei cheered Biden’s remarks, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou expressing “sincere welcome and gratitude” for the comments. “The challenge posed by China to the security of the Taiwan Strait has drawn great concern in the international community,” said Ou. “Taiwan will continue to improve its self-defence capabilities, and deepen cooperation with the United States and Japan and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the security of the Taiwan Strait and the rules-based international order, while promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Chinese foreign minister criticises US government

Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, Wang Yi, addressing a multilateral over video link, separately launched another salvo of criticism against the US.

He urged Asia-Pacific countries to reject any attempt to introduce military bloc or camp confrontation into the region, in a reference to Quad, which he has equated with the Nato in the past.

Wang made the remarks while delivering a virtual speech at the 78th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). “…we should unswervingly safeguard peace and stability, firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and unequivocally reject any attempt to introduce military blocs and bloc confrontation into the Asia-Pacific region,” the Chinese foreign minister said.Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, Wang Yi, addressing a multilateral over video link, separately launched another salvo of criticism against the US.

He urged Asia-Pacific countries to reject any attempt to introduce military bloc or camp confrontation into the region, in a reference to Quad, which he has equated with the Nato in the past.

Wang made the remarks while delivering a virtual speech at the 78th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). “…we should unswervingly safeguard peace and stability, firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and unequivocally reject any attempt to introduce military blocs and bloc confrontation into the Asia-Pacific region,” the Chinese foreign minister said.

With inputs from agencies

Enjoy unlimited digital access with HT Premium

Subscribe Now to continue reading
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022