Latest News 30-05-2024 21:08 7 Views

Bipartisan criticism targets Biden for his lack of ‘moral clarity’ on Taiwan

A top Republican on the House Taiwan Caucus is blasting President Biden for what he calls a lack of 'moral clarity' on the U.S. relationship with Taiwan.

Caucus co-Chair Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., spoke with Fox News Digital in Taipei as part of the first U.S. Congressional delegation to meet with Taiwan’s newly-inaugurated government. 

'This is the problem with the Biden administration, they're not— it's not ambiguity,' Barr said. 'It's the fact that they contradict themselves.'

'It's the fact that Biden makes a statement to try to clarify the U.S. position and then the state department walks it back. And so the fact that there's not a moral clarity, and a consistency, in communicating about the threat from China, undermines the credibility and the deterrence provided by this administration,' he said.

There have been several high-profile instances since Biden took office in which his forceful statements in Taiwan’s defense have had to be walked back by officials within his own administration, according to published reports. 

He told CNN in October 2021 that the U.S. had a 'commitment' to come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked the island.

It prompted an aggressive response from the Chinese Communist Party, which accused Biden of violating the longstanding 'One China' policy, which does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation with its own formal diplomatic ties. 

Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki later said, 'The president was not announcing any change in our policy, nor has he made a decision to change our policy.'

Similar incidents occurred in August 2021 as well as May and October of 2022.

Dr. I-Chung Lai, president of the Taiwan-based think tank The Prospect Foundation, explained that while those situations are not interpreted as U.S. support wavering, they did somewhat undermine the president.

'It did help people to have the perception that, internally, the U.S. government is not coherent in its approach, and especially the walk-back by the people under you…that also in my view, makes President Biden [not look] as authoritative as he should be. I do not think that will help the U.S. credibility in the world,' Lai said.

Democrats on the Taiwan trip, meanwhile, argued that Biden’s statements and the subsequent clean-up attempts did not undercut the U.S. position and actually bolstered the country’s goal of 'strategic ambiguity' on Beijing and Taipei.

'I think it’s honestly kind of an asset – a feature, not a bug,' Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., told Fox News Digital in Taipei. 'It’s strategic ambiguity…but I do believe that he means it when he says that America will stand with Taiwan.'

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., told Fox News Digital: 'I actually think we're making them stronger. Because trust me, the four times that the president has made those statements, the people here in Taiwan are counting each and every one of them.'

The congressional delegation is led by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and also includes the panel's subcommittee chair for the Indo-Pacific, Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., and Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., subcommittee chair for the Middle East.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back at press time.

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