TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. President Biden said on Thursday (Oct. 22) that the U.S. has a commitment to defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China.
President Biden was attending a town hall conference arranged by CNN in Baltimore when he was asked whether the U.S. will defend Taiwan, according to a CNA report. He replied affirmatively, saying "Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
The President was asked the question twice, according to a CNN report. Biden also said he was not worried about an intentional military conflict with China, but rather an unintentional escalation, per CNN.
The statement comes amid increasing debate in the U.S. over whether Washington should abandon its long-held policy of “strategic ambiguity” in favor of an explicit commitment to Taiwan’s defense. Strategic ambiguity means Taiwan cannot be certain the U.S. will defend the country against a Chinese attack, but that Beijing cannot rule out that possibility either.
Just this week, Nicholas Burns, President Biden's nominee for the new U.S. ambassador to China, indicated he views strategic ambiguity as an effective policy at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday (Oct. 20).
Yet prominent U.S. foreign policy experts like Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently argued making Washington's defense commitment to Taiwan unambiguous would more effectively deter China from attacking.