Beijing said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s recent remarks that the US would defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion “violated” Washington’s policy toward the island.
Washington severed formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, recognizing Beijing as China’s sole representative, but it has continued to play an important, if delicate, role in supporting the island ever since.
In an interview with CBS that aired on Sunday, Biden was asked if US troops would defend Taiwan in the event of a “unprecedented attack,” to which he replied “yes.”
He went on to say that Taiwan makes its “own decisions” about independence and that the US does not “encourage… their independence.”
“That’s their call,” he said.
Beijing reacted angrily on Monday to President Joe Biden’s latest remarks, with foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning telling a regular press briefing: “The US remarks… severely violate the important commitment the US made not to support Taiwan independence, and send a seriously erroneous signal to Taiwanese separatist independence forces.”
“We are prepared to make the most sincere efforts to pursue the prospect of peaceful reunification,” Mao stated.
“At the same time, we will never tolerate any activities aimed at dividing the country, and we reserve the right to take whatever measures are necessary.”
Tensions between China and the United States are already higher than usual as a result of Nancy Pelosi’s rare visit to Taiwan. Pelosi is a key Biden ally.