News Release

Biden’s False Statement on China “Emboldens” Taiwanese Independence Movement, Risks War

Biden on Thursday was asked “can you vow to protect Taiwan?” Biden said “yes.” He was then asked, “Are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense?” Biden falsely claimed: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

ANN WRIGHT, annw1946@gmail.com

Wright is a 29-year U.S. Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She recently wrote the piece “Dangers of Military Confrontation Between the United States and China Around Taiwan and in the South China Sea.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle said today: “Biden has no constitutional authority to threaten war against China over Taiwan. That would require an act of Congress under the War Powers Resolution and there is no such act. Indeed, some of the Democrats are pointing this out and foolishly want to give Biden that authority under WPR. We did have a mutual self-defense treaty with Taiwan, but Carter pulled us out of it in order to normalize diplomatic relations with Beijing. This so-called commitment by Biden is only going to encourage the independence movement in Taiwan to declare independence and precipitate a conflict with Beijing. Taiwan is already a de facto independent state. They should leave it at that.”

Reuters reports: “A White House spokesperson said Biden at his town hall was not announcing any change in U.S. policy and ‘there is no change in our policy,’ but declined further comment when asked if Biden had misspoken.”

Boyle added: “Under International Law it is the Statement by the President, the Head of State, that is binding — not some press spokesperson trying to walk it back. This is completely reckless by Biden and existentially dangerous and unconstitutional and he knows better. He is a lawyer, a former Senator, and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. He knows all about the War Power Clause of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

“He should not have said anything like this. We should be working to tell the Taiwanese government and independence movement to tone things down; that they are already a de facto independent state; that they should leave it at that; and not to do anything to antagonize China; and certainly not insinuate that they might declare independence and secede from China; and that if they do something so reckless they are on their own. Instead Biden’s comment has just emboldened Taiwan to do precisely that.”

Boyle also notes that this is part of a pattern of threatening actions to China from the Biden administration, for example the Air Force Times is reporting: “B-1B bombers return to Diego Garcia island base after 15 years.”