Biden’s Taiwan ‘Gaffe’ Just Said the Quiet Part Out Loud

Biden’s Taiwan ‘Gaffe’ Just Said the Quiet Part Out Loud
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Palace, in Tokyo, May 23, 2022 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In an age of rapid news cycles, when controversies often emerge and fade away in hours, if not days, U.S. President Joe Biden’s declaration in late May that the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China might seem like ancient history. But given the weightiness of the topic, recent calls for creating a “Pacific NATO” and the heightened focus in recent months on a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan similar to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the remarks, which caused quite a stir at the time, warrant a second look.

At a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio during Biden’s recent visit to Tokyo, a reporter drew a parallel to Ukraine, making the distinction between the weapons the U.S. is providing Kyiv in its war against Russia and getting “involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily.” She then asked Biden, “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, if it comes to that?”

Biden responded bluntly and without hesitation, “Yes,” before adding, “That’s the commitment we made.”

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