U.S. Secretary of State John Blinken said Friday (Dec. 3) that any move by the Chinese Communist Party to invade Taiwan would have “terrible consequences. He also said he hoped the Chinese Communist Party leaders would think deeply about not “triggering a crisis” in the Taiwan Strait.
Speaking at Reuters’ Reuters Next conference, Blinken said the Chinese Communist Party has been trying to change the status quo regarding Taiwan, and that the United States is “strongly committed” to ensuring that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself.
The chief U.S. diplomat was asked whether the Chinese Communist Party would invade Taiwan. Blinken replied, “I think that would be a decision that could have catastrophic consequences, and that’s the short answer.”
He went on to say that the United States will continue to abide by the “One China” policy, which has lasted for more than 40 years and has allowed the people of Taiwan to make progress while maintaining the stability of the U.S.-China relationship. In praising Taiwan’s progress, he referred to Taiwan as a “country.
Over the past 40 years, we have been able to manage this issue and manage it effectively in a way that has allowed the people of Taiwan to make considerable progress — a strong democracy, a strong economy, an innovative country that has a lot to offer the world,” Blinken said. And it has done so in a way that has maintained the stability of the important U.S.-China relationship. Grounded in the ‘One China’ policy, we will continue to abide by it.”
Blinken added, “But again, the point here is that I hope that the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party think deeply about this issue and about not triggering a crisis that I think would have terrible consequences for a lot of people and would not be in anybody’s interest, starting with China.”
Asked if the U.S. is committed to sending troops in the event of an invasion of Taiwan, Blinken said, “We have been very clear and consistently clear over the years that we are committed to ensuring that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself …… and we will continue to honor that commitment.”
In October, President Joe Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the U.S. would defend Taiwan, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.” His remarks had caused a stir.
The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 stated that the United States would provide Taiwan with weapons to maintain an adequate self-defense capability, but the law did not declare that the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan if China invaded. Successive U.S. administrations have maintained “strategic ambiguity.
After Biden’s statement, which seemed to deviate from “strategic ambiguity,” White House spokeswoman Sachs clarified: “The president is not announcing any change in our policy, nor is he making a decision to change our policy. Our defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act.”
The Biden administration is currently trying to open up more international space for Taiwan and has criticized Beijing for coercing Taiwan, which has democratic autonomy, in areas such as military and diplomacy. There is also widespread bipartisan support for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress.
Taiwan will be invited to the Biden administration’s democracy summit by video this month; China is not on the list of invited participants.