President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his government does not encourage Taiwan’s independence, after a slip in which he expressed an opinion contrary to the official position of the White House.
In statements to the press during a visit to New Hampshire, Biden first said that Taiwan is “independent” and “makes its own decisions”, after holding a virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday (Tuesday in Beijing.)
This position contrasts with the official stance maintained by all U.S. governments in the last five decades: respect for the so-called “One China” policy, which Beijing imposes as the basis for its ties with any country.
This policy means that the only Chinese government to be recognized by Washington is the one based in Beijing, which distances it from Taiwan’s independence aspirations.
Before taking off back to Washington after his visit to New Hampshire, Biden rectified his statements and stressed that the United States “is not going to change its policy at all.”
“We’re encouraging that they do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires,” Biden stressed.
According to the White House, during his meeting with Xi, Biden reiterated Washington’s commitment to the “One China” policy, although he specified that he will also be guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, through which the United States supplies military equipment to the island.
This issue has generated numerous frictions between the two powers, in addition to the recent Chinese military maneuvers near the island and Washington’s support for Taiwan’s “robust” participation in international organizations.
Regarding tensions in the South China Sea, Biden stressed that the United States will not enter Chinese “territorial waters”, but will not be “intimidated” in terms of its freedom of navigation in what it considers international waters, and said the same applies to airspace.
In October a record number of Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), followed by the passage of an American destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, which was condemned by Beijing.