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Biden says US would defend Taiwan if China attacked but White House backtracks

US President Joe Biden said on 21 October that the United States is committed to defending Taiwan if the island were to be attacked by China.

However, the remarks, which seemed to mark a departure from Washington's long-held policy of ‘strategic ambiguity', prompted the White House and the US State Department to backtrack and clarify that there has been “no change in our policy” vis-à-vis Taiwan.

Biden made the remarks during a town hall meeting organised by CNN. He also said, “China, Russia, and the rest of the world knows we have the most powerful military in history of the world. Don't worry about whether they're going to be more powerful. But what you do have to worry about is whether or not they're going to engage in activities [that] put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake.”

At the same time the US president noted that he does not want a new Cold War with China. Pointing to his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said, “I have spoken and spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other world leader has. That's why you hear people saying Biden wants to start a new cold war with China. I don't want a cold war with China. I want China to understand that we are not going to step back and change any of our views.”

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