North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs said President Joe Biden‘s recent remarks implying the U.S. would defend Taiwan against Chinese attacks were “reckless” and could result in “tragic consequences,” according to Korean state media.
Pak Myong Ho told the Korean Central News Agency that Biden’s “meddling” into the island could result in “a potential danger of touching off a delicate situation on the Korean peninsula,” The Hill reported Saturday.
“The U.S. should bear in mind that its reckless interference in internal affairs, its attempt for division and an open act of double standard would only invite tragic consequences of lifting an ax to drop it on its own foot,” Pak told the news outlet.
“We fully support the Chinese government and people in their stand to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to realize the unification of the motherland without fail,” Pak added.
Pak’s statement comes after Biden said Thursday that the U.S. has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan if China were to attack the island. The comment forced the White House to later clarify Biden’s remarks, as it appeared to suggest that U.S. policy toward Taiwan had shifted.
“The U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. 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,” a White House spokesperson said Thursday.
Current policy states that the U.S. is legally required to provide Taiwan with resources to defend itself, while maintaining a position of “strategic ambiguity” regarding military intervention. The U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent country but provides key support to the Chinese-claimed island, such as supplying arms.
However, concerns of attacks on Taiwan have grown recently as China has moved forward with controversial military actions, including recently flying at least 150 warplanes into nearby airspace.
In response to the White House’s reversal of Biden’s remarks, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Friday that the island would not “bow” to China’s military pressure.
“Since President Biden took office, the U.S. government has consistently demonstrated its rock-solid support for Taiwan through concrete actions,” spokesperson Xavier Chang said in comments shared with Newsweek. “Taiwan’s consistent position is that we neither bow to pressure nor act rashly when we have support.”
“Taiwan will show a firm determination to defend itself,” he added, “and continue to work with like-minded countries to be a force for good and to contribute to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.”
Newsweek contacted the White House for additional comment.