Biden: US concerned about China’s measures in Taiwan Strait

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden speaks during the virtual ASEAN-US Summit, hosted by ASEAN Summit Brunei, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei October 26, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

US President Joe Biden says his country is deeply concerned about what he describes as China's "coercive and proactive actions" in the Taiwan Strait, a waterway linking Chinese Taipei and the mainland.

The US president who was addressing a summit of East Asian leaders described the Chinese actions a threat to the regional peace and stability.

The comments by Biden come nearly a week after he reiterated that Washington would defend Chinese Taipei in case of any external threat.

When asked at a CNN town hall meeting if the United States would come to the defense of Chinese Taipei, Biden had said, "Yes, we have a commitment to do that."

Also on Friday, echoing Biden’s comments, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the United States will continue to help Chinese Taipei with resources and capabilities, including potent military hardware.

Austin said that the Biden administration remained "committed to the One China policy" but that the policy did not prevent it from providing aid to Taipei.

The White House, however, sought to walk back Biden’s comment slater.

“He wasn’t announcing a change in policy nor have we changed our policy,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. “We are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act.”

China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island but has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.

The latest statements from the Biden administration fly in the face of nearly four decades of American policy toward Taipei, in which America has adhered to “strategic ambiguity” when dealing with the island nation. 

Chinese officials on Friday blasted on Biden’s statement, accusing Washington of meddling in internal Chinese affairs.

“The Taiwan question is purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference… No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a briefing with reporters.

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