President Biden said on Tuesday that he and Xi Jinping have agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement as Beijing takes a more aggressive stance against the democratically-run island, according to reports.
“We made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement,” Biden told reporters when asked about Chinese-Taiwanese tensions, according to Reuters.
Beijing sent a record 145 fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defense zone for four consecutive days over the weekend and Taiwanese officials have warned of the possibility of a misfire or a war between the two countries, BBC News reported.
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson, said on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Relations have hit a 40-year low, Taiwan defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said amid the provocations, according to BBC.
Biden was seemingly referring to the U.S.’ longstanding “one China” policy, meaning the White House doesn’t officially recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty and the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which allows for non-diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan and obligates the U.S. to help the island maintain its self-defense against China.
The act is predicated on China being peaceful toward Taiwan, according to Reuters.
The U.S. also reportedly reassured the Taiwan Foreign Ministry that its commitment to the island was “rock solid” after Taiwan reached out for clarification.
Taiwan separated from mainland China in 1949 and considers itself a sovereign country while Beijing thinks of it as a breakaway province that could be annexed by force if necessary.