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Biden says U.S. willing to use force to defend Taiwan — prompting backlash from China

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Biden on Monday attended a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Japan.

Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, prompting thanks from the democratic, self-ruled island — but sharp criticism from China.

When asked at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida whether the U.S. would be prepared to defend Taiwan if attacked, Biden replied: “Yes.”

“That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agree with the ‘one China’ policy. We signed on to it. All the attendant agreements [were] made from there. But the idea that that can be taken by force, just taken by force. It’s just not it’s just not appropriate.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry thanked Biden for reaffirming U.S. support if Beijing invaded the island. However, China’s foreign ministry said the U.S. should not defend Taiwan independence, Reuters reported, adding that Beijing has no room for compromise or concessions relating to matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Taiwan and mainland China are separated by the Taiwan Strait, which is only about 100 miles wide (160 km) at its narrowest point. The ruling Chinese Communist Party in Beijing has never controlled Taiwan, but it claims the island is a runaway province that must one day be reunited with the mainland — by force if necessary.

Taiwan, and the view of the island through the lens of Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine, came up several times throughout Biden’s press conference with Kishida.

Japan’s leader said that the two countries’ position on Taiwan remains unchanged and “underscored the importance of peace and stability of Taiwan Straits, which is an indispensable element for peace and prosperity of international communities.”

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