Biden makes most explicit statement yet on Taiwan

STORY: U.S forces would defend Taiwan, President Biden has said in the event of a Chinese invasion.

It’s his most explicit statement so far on the issue with comments that are sure to anger Beijing.

In a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday (September 18) he was asked whether U.S. forces would defend the democratically governed island claimed by China.

He responded ‘Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack.’

Asked to clarify if he meant that unlike in Ukraine, U.S. forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, Biden replied: ‘Yes.’

It’s not the first time Biden has appeared to go beyond U.S. policy on Taiwan, but this statement was clearer than previous ones about committing U.S. troops to the defend the island.

The U.S. has long stuck to a policy of "strategic ambiguity" and not making clear whether it would respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan.

When asked to comment, a White House spokesperson said U.S. policy towards Taiwan has not changed.

Biden's remarks are sure to enrage Beijing, already angered by a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

That visit promoted China to conduct its largest-ever military exercises around the island.