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Sen. Kaine says mixed messages on Taiwan from Biden and WH staff are “part of strategic ambiguity”


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President Biden and administration officials have on more than one occasion sent mixed messages about where the United States stands when it comes to defending Taiwan against a Chinese attack, Sen. Tim Kaine said Tuesday, but noted that this appears to be part of the plan.

Biden has repeatedly stated that the US would defend Taiwan if China were to attack the island, and each time the White House has responded by insisting that the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan has not changed. Kaine said this back and forth is in line with that.

“Even going backwards, it turns into strategic ambiguity. So I think it’s all part of the strategic ambiguity,” he said.

Asked if he thinks the pattern of Biden saying one thing and then the White House backing down is intentional, Kaine indicated yes.

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Senator Tim Kaine D-Va. speaks during a news conference outside the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

“When something happens more than once, it doesn’t look like an accident,” he said.

The US policy of strategic ambiguity regarding Taiwan has been to have ties to the island but also to continue a “One China Policy” that does not recognize it as its own country and does not support Taiwan independence. Biden has repeatedly made statements that did not seem ambiguous at all, stating flatly that the United States would get involved militarily if China attacked Taiwan.

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President Biden has made comments about Taiwan that the White House later appeared to back down.

President Biden has made comments about Taiwan that the White House later appeared to back down.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Most recently, this happened during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday. Biden said “yes” when asked if “American forces, American men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.” After the interview, CBS News reported that the White House said that US policy has not changed.

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A similar incident took place in May when Biden responded in the affirmative when asked if he was “willing to engage militarily to defend Taiwan” in the event of a Chinese invasion. A White House spokesman told Fox News that the administration’s policy “has not changed.”



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