Baltimore [US], October 22 (ANI): President Joe Biden on Thursday (local time) vowed to protect Taiwan in event of a Chinese attack and said that the US was committed to Taiwan's defence.
Asked twice during CNN's town hall whether the US would protect Taiwan if China attacked, Biden said it would.
"Yes, we have a commitment to do that," he said.
A White House official attempted to clarify Biden's comments on Taiwan after the town hall, saying the President was "not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy" in his remarks about China and Taiwan, reported CNN.
"The US defence relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the Act, we will continue to support Taiwan's self-defence, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo," the official said.
Biden has made similar statements in the past, only to have the White House say longstanding US policy had not changed toward the island.
Under the "One China" policy, the US acknowledges China's claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. In recent weeks, Beijing has sent dozens of warplanes near into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), and Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that "reunification" between China and Taiwan was inevitable.
The Taiwanese were cheered by Biden's statement, thanking him for his words, reported CNN.
"Our government will continue to strengthen our self-defence capabilities to full defend Taiwan's democracy... national security and people's well-being," a statement from the foreign ministry said Friday (local time).
Biden said Thursday he was not concerned about an intentional military conflict with China, but indicated he was worried about unintentional escalation.
Hours after the town hall, China's foreign ministry warned the United States not to send "any wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence" Friday (local time), reported CNN.
"China urges the US to strictly abide by the One-China principle and the provisions of the China-US Three Joint Communiques, be cautious in its words and deeds on the Taiwan issue and refrain from sending any wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, so as not to seriously damage China-US relations, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing in Beijing Friday.
Meanwhile, Biden, citing his relationship with Xi, said he wasn't looking to enter a prolonged conflict.
"I have spoken and spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other world leader has. That's why you hear people saying Biden wants to start a new cold war with China. I don't want a cold war with China. I want China to understand that we are not going to step back and change any of our views." (ANI)