President Biden on Tuesday said the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan remains intact, hoping to tamp down the furor over his assertion Monday that he would intervene militarily if China invaded the island.
“The policy has not changed at all,” Mr. Biden said in Tokyo. “I stated that when I made my statement yesterday.”
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not require the U.S. to intervene if China invades. Instead, it calls for America to provide assistance so Taiwan can defend itself.
U.S. presidents typically tread a narrow line in promoting Taiwan’s right to self-governance without provoking China, a superpower in Asia.
Mr. Biden sparked confusion by offering a blunt, “Yes,” when a reporter asked if he would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion.
“That’s the commitment we made,” the president said Monday.
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In those same remarks, Mr. Biden said the policy toward China had not changed. The White House highlighted that fact and said the president “reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”
Even so, analysts said the comment could raise tensions with China unnecessarily.