President Joe Biden stated on Thursday that the US is "commitment" to defending Taiwan, which is under increasing military and diplomatic pressure from Beijing.
Biden was asked if the US would come to Taiwan's defense at a CNN town hall event, which China claims as its own.
"Yes, we have a commitment to do that," he said, seemingly contradicting longstanding US policy on Taiwan.
While the United States is legally obligated to equip Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long maintained a "strategic ambiguity" policy on whether it would engage militarily if China attacked.
"China, Russia, and the rest of the world knows we're the most powerful military in the history of the world," Biden said, defending the US' credentials.
"What you do have to worry about is whether or not they're going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake," Biden said.
"I'm not interested in a cold war with China. I simply want China to know that we're not going backwards, and we're not going to modify our minds."
Is there a policy shift?
Later, the White House confirmed that no policy had changed, confirming a similar statement made by a US official in August 2021.
The Taiwan Relations Act governs the US defense connection with Taiwan, according to a White House official.
"We will uphold our commitment under the act, we will continue to support Taiwan's self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo." he said.
"The president was not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy."