The White House clarified a number of statements President Biden made during a live town hall Thursday night, reversing his vow to call the National Guard to help the congested supply chain and his suggestion that the United States would defend Taiwan against a potential attack from China.
The White House told Fox News on Friday that “asking for the use of the state-level National Guard is up to the governors.”
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“We are not actively pursuing the use of the National Guard at the federal level,” a White House official told Fox News.
The clarification came after the chairman, at a CNN town hall meeting hosted by Anderson Cooper on Thursday night, was asked to consider having National Guards drive trucks to make up for lack of truck drivers amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden said he would and that he had a timeline for resolving the crisis.
“I had a timeline for, first of all, I want the ports to be up and running,” the president said, noting the commitments he had from Walmart and other companies, like UPS and FedEx, to execute. 24/7 operations to help quell congested supply chain.
When asked if he wanted the National Guard to drive trucks, the President replied: “The answer is yes, if we cannot move to increase the number of truckers, which we are in the process of. to do.”
Turning to foreign policy, the president was asked by an audience member about recent tests carried out by China on a hypersonic missile and asked him whether the United States would defend Taiwan in the aftermath. of an attack from Beijing.
“China, Russia and the rest of the world know that we have the most powerful army in the history of the world. Don’t worry about whether we are going to do it – they are going to be more powerful,” Biden said. in CNN Town Hall. “What you need to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that will put them in a position where they could make a big mistake.”
Biden added that he “doesn’t want a cold war with China.”
“I just want to make China understand that we are not going to back down, we are not going to change any of our views,” Biden said.
Cooper intervened, again asking if the United States would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack, to which Biden replied, “Yes, we are committed to doing that.”
On Friday morning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the comment via the Chinese state-affiliated Global Times.
“No one should underestimate the steadfast determination, determination and ability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesperson said, the statement said. mouth for the brutal communist regime. “China has no room for compromise.”
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The Global Times added that the Chinese Foreign Ministry had called on the United States to “exercise caution in its words and actions” and “refrain from sending the wrong signal to secessionists.”
But a White House spokesman told Fox News on Friday that the president “is not announcing any changes in our policy.”
“There is no change in our policy,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “The United States’ defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act.”
“We will honor our commitment under the law, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense and we will continue to oppose any unilateral change in the status quo,” the spokesperson added.
The Taiwan Relations Act to which the United States is a party does not guarantee that the United States will engage militarily if China attacks Taiwan, which it has claimed for decades to be sovereign Chinese territory, but states that the United States ” will make such a defense available to Taiwan. defense items and services in quantity necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain self-sufficient defense capabilities. “
US presidents have pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” so that China does not know exactly what the US response to an attack would be.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a separatist province and claims it is part of its own territory. The two countries separated in 1949, and China increased pressure on the autonomous nation while opposing its involvement in international organizations such as the United Nations. The United States does not formally recognize Taiwan but maintains an unofficial relationship and supports its democratic government.
The Biden administration has sought to compartmentalize its relationship with China – competing in some ways while seeking cooperation on other issues, such as climate change. But it has been clear for months that the United States will defend Taiwan, which is a democratic island off the coast of China.
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“We have a constant interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We see this as essential for the security and stability of the wider Indo-Pacific region,” a senior administration official said. to Fox News in August as China aimed to seize Afghanistan. withdrawal to intimidate Taiwan.
“We will honor our commitment under [Taiwan Relations Act], we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense and we will continue to oppose any unilateral change to the status quo, ”the official said.
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