US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the United States would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China. Biden declared that although he did not want another Cold War, he would not back down in the face of the growing power of the PRC. He also stated that America’s military superiority was not threatened.
During CNN’s towhnhall-style televised debate in Baltimore, Biden was asked by a student whether, in the light of the recent Chinese hypersonic missile test, the US would be able to keep pace with China’s armaments and defend Taiwan. Biden replied in the affirmative twice.
– China, Russia and the rest of the world know we have the most powerful military in history. So we don’t have to worry about someone being more powerful. What we should be concerned about is whether they will take action that will put them in a position where they can make a serious mistake, Biden said. – You hear them say that Biden wants to start a cold war with China. No, I don’t want a Cold War. But I’m just trying to make the Chinese aware that we will not go back – he added.
Biden: If Taiwan is attacked, we will defend it
Biden also stressed that America has obligations to Taiwan and will defend it in case of aggression.
The United States has officially recognized the People’s Republic of China since 1979, but at the same time the US Congress has authorized the supply of weapons to Taiwan. Beijing has repeatedly declared that it considers Taiwan as its rebel province and has announced that it will not give up regaining it, including by military means, if – as it says – it turns out to be necessary.
Taiwan has had its own democratically elected government since the communist victory in mainland China in 1949. China’s military activity around Taiwan has intensified recently, and Chinese planes are breaching the island’s air defense identification zone, even though Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently stated that he wants to pursue “unification by peaceful means.”
Biden on the social welfare program and electoral rights reform
Biden’s Baltimore speech was the first of its kind since July, when he met voters in Cincinnati. Most of the debate was devoted to Biden’s welfare enhancement program known as “Build back better”. The president admitted that he was forced to cut back on the plans due to the resistance of two senators from his own party, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinemy.
Biden added that the planned period of guaranteed parental leave from 12 to 4 weeks, as well as the scope of free health care. Free education in 2-year colleges will also disappear from the act, tax increases for the richest and corporations will also be smaller. As a result, the planned expenditure resulting from the project for 10 years will be cut by about half of the original proposal of $ 3.5 trillion. However, the president promised that the expansion of the social aid net would not increase the public debt by even a cent, because the expenses would be financed from tax increases.
Biden also announced that after the adoption of this law and investment in infrastructure worth over a trillion dollars, his priority will be the reform of electoral rights. To this end, he added, he would support the abolition of the “filibuster”, a controversial rule in the Senate, which in effect means that 60 out of 100 senators are needed to pass most bills, not a simple majority.
Biden: I made a mistake
The president admitted during the debate that he made a mistake by publicly saying that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon should have been charged with prosecution for failing to testify before the House of Representatives investigative committee on the events of January 6. “I shouldn’t be doing this,” Biden said, explaining that the prosecution should be independent and not be put under pressure.
Rising fuel prices
The president also commented on rising fuel prices, claiming that external factors were behind them. He pointed to the OPEC countries. – Many leaders in the Middle East want to talk to me. I’m not sure if I will, but we’ll see, ”said Biden. He estimated that prices should fall next year, as did inflation, currently at its highest level in 13 years. Much would depend, Biden said, on his success in adopting the bills that were a priority in his program, especially in the trillions of investments in infrastructure.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / ROMAN PILIPEY