The four leaders' announcement of the Quad Fellowship, a new scholarship program offered to students of the member nations, was waylaid somewhat when reporters in the room posed a different question: What did Biden mean about Taiwan?
US President Joe Biden sent shockwaves through the region yesterday, when he said the United States would intervene militarily if China attacked the self-governing democratic island — appearing to shift from the deliberate ambiguity traditionally held by Washington.
The White House later walked back his comments, and said the US' official position remained unchanged.
After Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida finished speaking about the Quad Fellowship, there was a stretch of quiet as the four leaders posed for photos — before CNN's Jeremy Diamond asked, "Mr. President, is the policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan dead?"
After a beat, Biden responded: "No."
"Could you explain?" Diamond prodded.
"No," Biden repeated.
Another reporter asked if Biden would send troops to Taiwan in the event of an attack — to which the President responded, "The policy has not changed at all and I stated that when I made my statement."
Diamond can be heard pushing Biden to explain what he meant by intervening militarily — but an event moderator then declared the event over, with the four leaders leaving shortly after.