President Biden’s one-word response on Taiwan Monday was breaking news to his administration officials, CNN reports.
A journalist asked Biden during a news conference in Japan, “You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”
“Yes,” Biden answered.
“You are?” she asked in a follow up.
“That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agree with the One China policy. We signed onto it and all the attendant agreements made from there. But the idea that [Taiwan] can be taken by force, it’s just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
CNN’s John Berman remarked that Biden switched from the “strategic ambiguity” toward China’s claim that Taiwan is part of their sovereign territory.
“The comments this morning seem a little less ambiguous,” Berman said. “As to whether they were strategic, CNN has learned the president’s comments caught his top aides off guard. They are already issuing some clarifications this morning. Beijing issued a response a short time ago as well.”
The White House attempted to clean up Biden’s remarks, stating that U.S. policy “has not changed.”
CNN: "Several administration officials were caught off guard" when Biden said the U.S. would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan.— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 23, 2022
"This is not the first time. Twice before Biden has suggested the U.S. would intervene" and his staff walked it back. pic.twitter.com/KOxcwu3qOJ
Q: “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan?”— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 23, 2022
BIDEN: “Yes, that’s the commitment we made.”
Biden’s staff immediately walked back these comments. pic.twitter.com/AhPC3czPOl
REPORTER: “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 23, 2022