TOKYO (AP) – President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan, in one of the most powerful and blatant statements in support of Taiwan in decades.
Biden said the burden of protecting the autonomous island was “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At a press conference in Tokyo, Biden said: “That is the commitment we have made.” He said China’s efforts to use force against Taiwan “just would not be appropriate,” saying it “would displace the entire region and be another act similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
Under the “One China” policy, the United States recognizes Beijing as the Chinese government and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, it maintains unofficial contacts with Taiwan, including a de facto embassy in Taipei, the capital. The United States also supplies military equipment for the island’s defense.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s past history follows below.
TOKYO (AP) – President Joe Biden on Monday promised “concrete benefits” to the people of the Indo-Pacific region from a new trade pact he was to launch, designed to signal US dedication to the disputed economic sphere and address the need for stability in trade after disturbances caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden said the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework would also increase US cooperation with other nations in the region.
The White House said the framework would help the United States and Asian economies work closer to issues including supply chains, digital commerce, clean energy, workers’ protection and the fight against corruption. The details still need to be negotiated between member states, making it difficult for the administration to say how this agreement will fulfill the promise to help American workers and businesses while meeting global needs.
Countries that signed the framework were to be announced on Monday during Biden’s visit to Tokyo for talks with Kishida. It is the latest move by the Biden administration to seek to preserve and expand US influence in a region that until recently appeared to be under China’s growing influence.
Kishida hosted a formal state welcome for Biden at Akasaka Palace, including a white-clad military honor guard and band in the front seat. Biden went through the assembled troops and laid his hand over his heart as he passed the American flag and bowed slightly as he passed the Japanese standard.
Kishida said in brief remarks that he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome Biden to Tokyo on his first trip to Asia during his presidency. Together with Biden, he ran a hard line against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying it “undermines the foundations of global order.”
Biden, who is in the middle of a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, called the US-Japanese alliance a “cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific” and thanked Japan for its “strong leadership” in standing up. to Russia.
The White House announced plans to build the economic framework in October as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the United States dropped out of in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.
The new pact comes at a time when the administration believes it has the advantage of competing with Beijing. Bloomberg Economics released a report last week that predicts U.S. GDP growth of around 2.8% in 2022 compared to 2% for China, which has sought to curb coronavirus through strict shutdowns while also handling a real estate bust. The slowdown has undermined the assumption that China would automatically displace the United States as the world’s leading economy.
“The fact that the United States will grow faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976, is quite a striking example of how countries in this region should look at the issue of trends and trajectories,” the White House said. adviser Jake Sullivan.
Critics say the framework has gaping shortcomings. It does not provide incentives to potential partners by lowering tariffs or giving signatories greater access to U.S. markets. These restrictions may not make the US framework an attractive alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was still moving forward after the US rescue. China, the largest trading partner for many in the region, is also seeking to join the TPP.
“I think a lot of partners will look at that list and say, ‘This is a good list of issues. I’m glad to be involved,'” said Matthew Goodman, a former director of international economics at the National Security Council. President Barack Obama’s administration. But he said they can also ask, “Should we get any tangible benefits from participating in this framework?”
It is possible for countries to be part of both trade agreements.
The first stop on Monday was a private meeting with Emperor Naruhito of Japan at Naruhito’s residence on the lush grounds of the Imperial Palace before talks with Kishida.
The two leaders were also to meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago. The Japanese prime minister took office last fall and seeks to strengthen ties with the United States and build a personal relationship with Biden. He will host the president at a restaurant for dinner.
The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, also known as IPEF, has been billed by the White House as one of the biggest moments on Biden’s Asia trip and by his ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with the Pacific Allies. Throughout, government officials have been keeping a close eye on China’s growing economic and military power in the region.
In September, the United States announced a new partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom called AUKUS, which aims to deepen security, diplomatic and defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Through this AUKUS partnership, Australia will purchase nuclear-powered submarines, and the United States will increase the deployment of rotational forces to Australia.
The US president has also paid close attention to the informal alliance known as Quad, which was formed during the response to the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, which killed about 230,000 people. Biden and other leaders from the alliance, which also includes Australia, India and Japan, are to gather in Tokyo for their second personal meeting in less than a year. The leaders have also held two video calls since Biden took office.
And earlier this month, Biden gathered representatives from nine of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington for a summit, the first ever by the organization in the U.S. capital. Biden announced at the summit that the United States would invest about $ 150 million in clean energy and infrastructure initiatives in ASEAN countries.
Sullivan confirmed on Sunday that Taiwan – which had sought membership in the IPEF framework – is not among the governments that will be included. Participation in the autonomous island of Taiwan, which China claims to be its own, would have annoyed Beijing.
Sullivan said the United States wants to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan, including on high-tech issues and semiconductor supply on a one-to-one basis.
Biden concludes his five days in Asia on Tuesday with the Quad meeting and one-on-one talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The center-left leader of the Australian Labor Party defeated incumbent Scott Morrison over the weekend, ending nine years of conservative rule.
Modi, the leader of the world’s largest democracy, has refused to join the United States and other allies in imposing sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. In a video call last month, Biden asked Modi not to hasten his purchase of Russian oil.
Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Darlene Superville of Washington contributed to this report.