China calls on Joe Biden to be “cautious” after he says US will defend Taiwan in Beijing attack

the essential Asked Thursday about the possibility of an American military intervention to defend Taiwan, Joe Biden replied in the affirmative. “Yes, we have a commitment to that,” he said in an exchange with voters in Baltimore broadcast on CNN television.

“No room for compromise”: Beijing on Friday called on Joe Biden to be “cautious” after remarks by the American president affirming that the United States was ready to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion by the Chinese army.

China considers the island of 23 million inhabitants, which it does not control, as one of its provinces awaiting reunification with the rest of the country.

The declaration of the American president, according to which the United States could intervene in the event of attack on Beijing, contradicts the policy held for a long time by the United States and known as “of strategic ambiguity”.

By virtue of it, Washington helps Taiwan build and strengthen its defenses, but without explicitly promising to come to its aid in the event of an attack.

The island territory has been ruled since 1945 by a regime (the “Republic of China”) which had withdrawn there after the victory of the Communists in mainland China in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War.

The Beijing-based “People’s Republic of China,” led by the Communist Party, regards the island as part of its territory. It threatens to use force in the event of a formal declaration of independence in Taipei.

“Bad signals”

Asked Friday about Joe Biden’s words, Beijing called on him not to “interfere” in his “internal affairs”.

“On issues related to its fundamental interests, such as its sovereignty and territorial integrity, China will not leave any room for compromise,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

“We urge the US side (…) to act with caution on the Taiwan issue, and to refrain from sending the wrong signals to Taiwanese independence activists so as not to seriously damage Sino-US relations.”

Joe Biden had already made a similar pledge this summer, speaking of “a sacred commitment” to defending NATO allies in Canada and Europe, and “the same with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan”

In the wake of the US president’s statements Thursday evening, the White House told the press that US policy towards Taiwan had “not changed.”

“I suspect that Biden was not looking to announce any change,” Richard McGregor, a researcher at the Australian research firm Lowy Institute, told AFP.

“Either he didn’t care what he was saying, or maybe he was determined to deliberately take a harsher tone, because of how Beijing has stepped up its military harassment of Taiwan in recent times. . “

Incursions

Asked whether the United States would be able to cope with the development of military programs in China, Joe Biden also replied in the affirmative.

“China, Russia and the rest of the world know that we have the most powerful military capability in the world,” he added.

However, he reiterated his desire not to engage in a new cold war with Beijing.

Beijing and Washington clash head-on on many issues, but the Taiwan issue is often considered the only one likely to provoke an armed confrontation.

The next ambassador to Beijing, diplomat Nicholas Burns, said Wednesday that China should not be “trusted” on Taiwan, and recommended to sell more weapons to the island to strengthen its defenses.

Mr Burns was speaking to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which is due to confirm his appointment. He also denounced the recent incursions of Chinese planes into the Taiwanese air defense identification zone (Adiz), calling them “reprehensible”.

The United States has since 1979 recognized the People’s Republic of China, to the detriment of the Republic of China (Taiwan) but the American Congress at the same time imposes to provide arms to the island for its defense .

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently reaffirmed his desire to achieve “peaceful” reunification.

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