Biden Reaffirms the US Would Defend Taiwan if China Attacks

Biden Reaffirms the US Would Defend Taiwan if China Attacks
Last updated Sep 19, 2022
Image credit: nypost


  • In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, Biden vowed the US would defend Taiwan in the case of an “unprecedented attack” by China, including by sending American troops.
  • However, a White House official backtracked these remarks, claiming that the US's "strategic ambiguity" on deploying troops to defend Taiwan hasn't changed.
  • Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US fears that Beijing could potentially attack Taiwan have generally increased. Last week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill to expand support to Taiwan and designate it a non-NATO ally.
  • Tensions have ratcheted up between China and the US over Taiwan, especially since August, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei under criticism from Beijing. In response, China expanded military exercises near Taiwan, sanctioned Pelosi, and halted talks with the US.
  • Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu took to social media to voice displeasure with Biden’s comments, arguing that his words may send the “wrong signals" to Taiwan, put China-US relations in jeopardy, and endanger peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
  • This isn’t the first time Biden has used this phrasing about Taiwan. He had already committed twice to militarily defend the island, but the White House walked those comments back as well.


Establishment-critical narrative

Biden once understood the subtleties of US-Taiwan-China dynamics, but now he seems to be itching for a fight. Despite the White House walking back the president’s words, Beijing has no choice but to look at the rhetoric and action Congress is taking, and assume the US is escalating. These tensions were avoidable.

Pro-establishment narrative

Biden's words send a strong message about global democracy to authoritarians worldwide. It’s China who has been saber-rattling over Taiwan, possibly because the PRC is inspired by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So while Biden’s words don’t change "official" US policy on Taiwan, they show a willingness to tighten the bond while sending a strong message to US allies.

Nerd narrative

There's a 65% chance that if China invades Taiwan before 2035, the US respond with military forces according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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