In fact, he repeated the notion that he was committed to doing more than what he had done for Ukraine. “The idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate,” he said of Taiwan. “It would dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. And so it’s a burden that is even stronger.”

Neither Mr. Biden nor anyone in his administration elaborated on what specifically would be entailed by getting “militarily involved” and the president did not respond to questions at a later event asking for more detail. But he left the clear impression that he meant that American forces would be deployed for Taiwan in some fashion.

“President Biden seems to have staked out a new position somewhere between ‘strategic clarity’ and ‘strategic ambiguity,’” said Danny Russel, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “He’s clear about his belief that the U.S. should respond in the event of Chinese military aggression against Taiwan. But he’s ambiguous about what exactly that means and what it is based on.”

As president, Mr. Biden has ignored before the practiced imprecision of his predecessors with regard to China and Taiwan. Last August, in reassuring allies after his decision to abandon the government of Afghanistan, he promised that “we would respond” if there was an attack against a fellow member of NATO and then added, “same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan.”

Taiwan, however, has never been granted the same U.S. security guarantees as Japan, South Korea or America’s NATO allies, and so the comment was seen as significant. Two months later, Mr. Biden was asked during a televised town hall if the United States would protect Taiwan from attack. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” he said. That also set off a frantic scramble by the White House to walk back his remark by insisting that he was not changing longstanding policy.

War in Taiwan does not appear to be imminent, and Mr. Biden said “my expectation is it will not happen.” But China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has taken a more aggressive stance than his predecessors, who long vowed to bring the island under their control, viewing the issue as the unfinished business of a bloody civil war waged more than 70 years ago.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *