TOKYO (CBS)

President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will intervene in hostilities if China invades Taiwan, in one of the strongest and most outspoken statements of support for the U.S. government in Taiwan in decades. Biden said the burden of defending the self-governing island was “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishido, CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes asked Biden, “Are you ready to go to war to defend Taiwan if that happens?”

He replied simply, “Yes.”

Cordes then asked, “You?”

“It’s a commitment we’ve made,” Biden said. “We agree with the United China policy.” We signed it and concluded all the relevant agreements from there. But the idea is that [Taiwan] it was possible to take by force, just by force took, it’s just not – it’s just unusable. This will move the whole region and will be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. That’s why it’s an even stronger burden. “

The president then said that “US policy towards Taiwan has not changed at all,” emphasizing his government’s commitment to “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and ensuring that there will be no unilateral change in the status quo.”

Biden said he “expects” that China will not try to seize control of Taiwan by force, but added that much depends on how strongly the world will make it clear that such actions will lead to long-term rejection by others. [international] community. “

The president said Beijing was “flirting with danger” with recent military flights near Taiwan.

Beijing has reacted: Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin warned: “No one should underestimate the firm determination, steadfast will and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the French news agency reported.

It was the second time in a year that Biden has questioned his administration’s stance on the US government’s long unofficial policy toward Taiwan. In October 2021, when asked during CNN City Hall in Maryland whether the United States would defend Taiwan in the face of a Chinese attack, he said, “Yes, we have a commitment.”

Shortly after he made these remarks, the White House issued a statement insisting, as did Biden after his comments in Tokyo on Monday, that no change in U.S. official policy toward Taiwan had taken place.

Under United China policy, the United States recognizes Beijing as the government of all China and has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, Washington maintains informal contacts with Taiwan, including the de facto embassy in Taipei, its capital. The United States also supplies military equipment to protect the island.

Ukraine

Biden also said Monday that Russia “had to pay a long-term price” for its “barbarism in Ukraine” in the form of sanctions against Moscow by the United States and its allies.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to eliminate “Ukraine’s identity” because he “could not occupy it.”

The president said that if “sanctions do not continue in many respects, then what signal is this sending to China about the cost of trying to seize Taiwan by force?”

The United States categorically refuses to participate directly in the war in Ukraine, instead providing military and economic assistance to the war-torn country.

Recession

Asked if a recession is imminent in the United States, Biden said simply “no.”

And this despite the record high inflation and supply shortages, partly caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He acknowledged that the U.S. economy has “problems,” but said it is in a better position than other countries.

“We have problems that the rest of the world has,” Biden said, “but they are less serious than the rest of the world.”

Biden acknowledged that severe supply shortages and high energy prices are exerting on American families. He said his administration was working to ease the pain for American consumers, but said immediate solutions were unlikely.

“It will be a race,” said the president. “It will take some time.”

Indo-Pacific economic fundamentals

The comments came shortly before the planned launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Structure (IPEF), a new trade deal developed by his administration to signal US commitment to the contentious economic sphere and meet the need for stability in trade following the pandemic disruptions. and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden said the new structure would also increase U.S. cooperation with other countries in the region.

Observers say the IPEF is part of a broader U.S. effort to restore its influence in the region and counter China.

The White House said the structure would help the U.S. and Asian economies work more closely together on issues including supply chains, digital commerce, clean energy, worker protection and anti-corruption efforts. Details still need to be discussed between member states, making it difficult for the administration to say how the agreement will fulfill its promise to help U.S. workers and businesses, as well as meet global needs.

Critics say the framework has obvious flaws. It does not provide incentives for potential partners by lowering tariffs, and does not provide subscribers with greater access to U.S. markets. These restrictions may not make the U.S. framework an attractive alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is still moving forward after the U.S. rescued. China, the largest trading partner for many in the region, is also looking to join thermal power plants. Beijing called the current proposed structure a “clique.”

Smallpox of monkeys

On the other hand, he sought to allay concerns about recent cases of monkeypox that have been found in Europe and the United States, saying he sees no need to impose strict quarantine measures.

Speaking in Tokyo the day after he said the virus was something to worry about, the president said: “I just don’t think it’s rising to the level of concern that has existed with COVID-19.”

Smallpox is rarely found outside of Africa. But as of Friday, there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States and another 50 suspects. One alleged case of monkeypox was investigated in Broward County, South Florida, on Sunday, which health officials said was related to international travel.

Although the disease belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, its symptoms are milder. Usually people recover within two to four weeks without the need for hospitalization, but the disease is sometimes fatal.

Biden said the smallpox vaccine works against monkeypox. Asked if the U.S. had enough supplies of the vaccine to deal with the spread of monkeypox, he said: “I think we have enough to deal with the likelihood of a problem.”

Japan and the United Nations

Kishida of Japan said Biden supported Japan’s permanent membership in the “reformed” UN Security Council as calls for such reform grew.

If approved by the world organization, Japan will join the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States as permanent members.

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