Biden at Quad Summit: US 'strategic ambiguity' toward Taiwan and China has not changed

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On the final day of his high-stakes strip to Asia, President Joe Biden urged international leaders in Japan to do more to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said there would be no change to “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, a day after frustrating China when he suggested the U.S. could send troops to the region.

“This is more than just a European issue. It’s a global issue,” Biden said of the Russia-Ukraine War Tuesday, alongside leaders of Japan, India and Australia.

In his remarks, Biden described the Eastern European war as a “dark hour” in history.

US MILITARY WILL DEFEND TAIWAN ‘IF IT COMES TO THAT,’ BIDEN SAYS

“We’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” the U.S. president said. “The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe and innocent civilians have been killed in the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced as well as in exile.”

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Quad leaders summit at Kantei Palace, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Tokyo. 

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Quad leaders summit at Kantei Palace, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Tokyo. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

He added: “The world has to deal with it, and we are.”

WHAT BIDEN’S TAIWAN COMMENTS MEAN FOR CHINA AND THE US

Biden did not specifically name any of the countries present at the summit, but his comments appeared to be directed at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as India has failed to implement any sanctions against Russia.

The Russia-Ukraine War is taking place at a time when tensions between China and the neighboring island of Taiwan continue to rise and experts say China could be considering military action.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attend the Japan-U.S.-Australia-India Fellowship Founding Celebration event in Tokyo Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attend the Japan-U.S.-Australia-India Fellowship Founding Celebration event in Tokyo Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
(Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)

Biden was asked by a group of reporters at the summit if he stood by comments he made Monday, that the U.S. was still considering the possibility of sending troops near Taiwan to stop a potential invasion by China, which drew criticism by the latter country.

“No,” Biden answered, Reuters reported. “The policy has not changed at all. I stated that when I made my statement yesterday.”

BIDEN’S NEW INDO-PACIFIC ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK FOR PROSPERITY SEEKS TO LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, FACILITATE PEACE

On Monday, Biden was directly asked, given the U.S. involvement in Ukraine, if it would intervene in a potential conflict between China and Taiwan.

Leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) from left to right, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pose for photo at the entrance hall of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) from left to right, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pose for photo at the entrance hall of the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
(Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP)

“Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” Biden was specifically asked during a news conference.

“Yes,” Biden answered. “That’s the commitment we made.”

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The initial comment on Monday drew backlash from Biden’s opponents and officials in Beijing, some of whom suggested he misspoke.

A potential conflict in the East China Sea was not a part of the Quad Summit’s agenda items.

President Biden returns to Washington Tuesday.

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