The US is “playing with fire” and “will itself get burned”, the Chinese State Council’s Taiwan affairs office said after President Joe Biden vowed to defend Taiwan should Beijing attempt to seize control of it, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.
“Attempting to play the ‘Taiwan card’ and ‘use Taiwan to control China’ is playing with fire, and those who play with fire get burned,” spokesman of the council, Zhu Fenglian said.
Fenglian added: “The Taiwan issue is [part of] China's internal affairs, and no foreign interference is allowed. The One-China principle is the political foundation of Sino-US relations. We urge the US side to halt making any statements or taking any actions that violate the One-China principle… and not to go further and further down the wrong path.”
Earlier, Biden said he would be willing to use military force to defend Taiwan against China.
“We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it... but the idea that it can be taken by force is just not appropriate, it would dislocate the entire region and would be another action similar to Ukraine,” Biden said.
However, later on Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington’s policy towards Taiwan has not changed.
This is the second time Biden has vowed to intervene in aid of Taiwan against China if needed. He had responded “yes” when asked in a CNN town hall last year about defending Taiwan. “We have a commitment to that,” he said then.
The White House later then stressed that the policy towards Taiwan has not changed.
The US has a long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” which allows for beefing up Taiwan’s defenses but not explicitly coming to its aid.