The United States and its allies would take unspecified “action” if China used force to change the status quo in Taiwan, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.
Blinken was questioned at a New York Times conference whether the US would intervene to defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion. He reiterated that Washington’s job is to ensure that the island has the capabilities to defend itself, as mandated by US law.
“At the same time, I think it’s fair to say that we’re not alone in this determination to make sure that we preserve peace and stability in that part of the world,” Blinken added.
“There are many countries, both in the region and beyond, that would see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they too would take action in the event that that happens.”
Blinken did not say what sort of action he was referring to.
U.S. President Joe Biden caused a stir last month when he said the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked.
Those remarks appeared to depart from a long held policy of “strategic ambiguity”, not making clear how the United States would respond. But the White House quickly said Biden was not signaling a change in policy, and some analysts dismissed his comments as a gaffe.
The Democratic chairman of the influential House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, last week urged the Biden administration to be less ambiguous about what he called a U.S. obligation to defend Taiwan from attack by China.
Blinken’s remarks came ahead of a planned virtual meeting between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which a source briefed on the matter told Reuters will be held as soon as next week.
Asked if the meeting would happen next week, Blinken said it was “coming up soon” but was not more specific.