An administration official was pressed after President Biden once again declared the U.S. would defend Taiwan if they were attacked by China despite “strategic ambiguity” remaining the presumed official U.S. policy.
In a CBS News interview, Biden was asked if U.S. troops would defend Taipei if attacked by Beijing.
“Yes, if in fact there was an unprovoked attack,” Biden said, leading reporter Scott Pelley to ask Biden to clarify oncemore because that stance is not the same the United States has had with Ukraine in terms of Russian aggression.
“Yes,” Biden again replied, leading many news outlets including Politico to declare the president essentially killed the 40-year standard.
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State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Fox News on Wednesday that nothing has changed in the decades-longstanding policy in regard to the tense triangle of diplomacy involving the U.S., China and Taiwan.
Price said Pelley’s query was a “hypothetical question” and claimed Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum failed to play more sound from Biden’s interview with Pelley or other unspecified comments the president made about Taiwan.
“[W]hat he has said on every instance in which he’s been asked this question before, namely that our policy has not changed the status quo…” he began, as MacCallum interjected:
“It is four times now that [Biden said] if they invade, we will go there with U.S. troops and support them. He’s said it four times. So you’re telling me that that’s not a change [in policy]?” she asked.
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When Price replied again that Biden has said elsewhere that the U.S.-Taiwan strategic ambiguity policy has not changed, MacCallum pointed out: “Those two things don’t line up.”
Price continued, saying he and Biden do not want to see China attack Taiwan in any regard – and that if Biden wanted to change the policy unilaterally, he could.
“If the president of the United States wishes to change U.S. policy, he will leave no doubt about doing that,” he said, to which MacCallum replied, “Well, he has said it four times. So a lot of people feel like that leaves doubt at this point in terms of what his position is.”
During the interview, MacCallum also pressed Price on the Biden administration’s position toward Ukraine and its continued military aid support, as reports surfaced that Ukraine is now striking targets inside Russian territory – at the same time that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin has declared he is not “bluffing” about the potential use of nuclear weapons.
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“Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can also blow in their direction,” the ex-KGB agent said this week.
MacCallum noted both situations, and asked why the U.S. is, potentially by proxy, taking out Russian targets.
“This is a truly important point – we are not doing that – our Ukrainian partners are using the systems,” Price contended.
“We have provided them on their sovereign territory against the Russians who have invaded who have aggressed against our Ukrainian partners,” he added.
In closing MacCallum also asked about reports the Biden administration is angry at Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin’s reportage from the Mexican border – as other networks focus markedly less on the out of control crisis there.
Price noted he is across town at Foggy Bottom and not at the White House, so he would not be involved in such critiques, adding that he is also “not a media critic.”
“Our partners here in the U.S. government to try to address the root causes of migration, the root factors that are pulling people away from their homes,” he added in-part.
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