Chinese officials threatened to take actions to “safeguard” their sovereignty after President Joe Biden said on Monday that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan.

In a press conference while visiting Japan, Biden was asked whether he would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan. Biden replied, “yes,” adding, “that’s the commitment we made.” Shortly after his remarks, a White House official told news outlets, that Biden was not announcing any change in U.S. policy towards Taiwan and said he was instead describing using the Taiwan Relations Act to arm Taiwan to defend itself.

Despite the White House’s efforts to walk back Biden’s remarks, officials in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs were quick to criticize the rhetoric and vowed that China would defend its sovereignty, including its territorial claims over Taiwan. While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China considers the island to be a part of its territory and considers official relations between the U.S. and Taiwan to be a violation of that sovereignty.

In a Monday press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.”
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