Authoritarian China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be its own territory and has vowed to seize the island one day, using force if necessary. Beijing's bellicose rhetoric has increased in recent years, fueling fears that the island of 23 million people will become a major global flashpoint.

China urged Washington to tread carefully on Taiwan on Friday after US Vice President Joe Biden said the US would defend the self-ruled island from Chinese attacks. "China has no room for compromise on issues involving its core interests," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, cautioning Washington to "act and speak cautiously on the Taiwan issue."

Authoritarian China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be its own territory and has vowed to seize the island one day, using force if necessary. Beijing's bellicose rhetoric has increased in recent years, fueling fears that the island of 23 million people will become a major global flashpoint.

Joe Biden said on Thursday that the US would defend Taiwan if it was attacked by China, a declaration welcomed by the democratic island but risking Beijing's wrath. However, Biden's remarks contradicted a long-held US policy known as "strategic ambiguity," in which Washington assists in the construction of Taiwan's defenses but does not explicitly promise to come to the island's aid. The policy is intended to deter a Chinese invasion while also discouraging Taiwan from formally declaring independence, which Beijing considers a red line.

During a CNN town hall on Thursday, Biden was asked if the US would defend Taiwan if China invaded. "Yes," he confirmed. "We've made a commitment to it." Taiwan, which has pushed to strengthen international alliances to protect itself from Beijing, welcomed Biden's remarks on Friday.

"The US government has demonstrated their rock-solid support for Taiwan through actual actions," presidential office spokesperson Xavier Chang said in a statement.

During an interview with ABC in August, Biden made a similar pledge, insisting that the US would always defend key allies, including Taiwan, despite the withdrawal from Afghanistan in the face of the victorious Taliban. On both occasions, the White House later told reporters that US policy toward Taiwan "has not changed."


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