When pressed on ‘Chinese Aggression,’ Antony Blinken refers to Taiwan as a country once more.
During a congressional hearing on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken openly referred to Taiwan as a country for the second time as Secretary of State, while being grilled on the US departure from Afghanistan and its consequences for American security commitments elsewhere.
Blinken was interrogated by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs via video link about the Biden administration’s handling of the conclusion of the two-decade war in Afghanistan, with evacuation efforts still ongoing.
President Joe Biden’s top diplomat was also requested to provide assurances to vulnerable American partners in Europe and Asia, where worries about the US’s long-term security obligations are being raised, amid sometimes tense exchanges with GOP lawmakers.
The people of Ukraine and Taiwan, according to Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district, “are scared to death.”
“Can we get you on the record here today, sir, to tell this committee, this Congress, and our nation that we will do whatever it takes—whatever it takes—to have the backs of our friends in Ukraine and our allies in Taiwan?” the legislator said.
“In the event of Russian assault, our friends in Ukraine; in the event of Chinese aggression, our friends in Taiwan,” he continued.
“Absolutely,” Blinken replied. We intend to keep our promises to both countries.”
When asked if the US would “do whatever it takes to defend them,” Secretary of State John Kerry responded that the US would “stand by our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA],” referring to support given to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on September 1.
In the lack of formal diplomatic connections, the TRA has directed US contacts and policy with Taiwan since 1979. The bill, which had Senator Biden’s support at the time, outlined intentions to maintain American economic and cultural ties with the now-democratically ruled island.
The TRA allows the US to sell defensive armaments to Taiwan while also emphasizing the hope that the island’s future will be decided peacefully. The law does not provide a clear guarantee of American military support in the event of a confrontation across the Taiwan Strait, but it does oblige the president and Congress to discuss an appropriate US response to any threat to Taiwan’s security and stability as soon as possible. This is a condensed version of the information.