The bipartisan criticism focuses on Biden for his lack of “moral clarity” on Taiwan

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A top Republican from the House Taiwan Caucus is slamming President Biden for what he calls a lack of “moral clarity” on the U.S. relationship with Taiwan.

Caucus Co-Chairman Andy Barr, R-Ky., spoke to Fox News Digital in Taipei as part of the first U.S. Congressional delegation to meet with Taiwan's newly inaugurated government.

“This is the problem with the Biden administration, it's not — it's not ambiguity,” Barr said. “It's the fact that they contradict themselves.”

“It's the fact that Biden makes a statement to try to clarify the American position and then the State Department backtracks. And so the fact that there is no moral clarity and consistency in communicating about the threat from China is undermining. credibility and the deterrence that this government provides,” he said.

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Rep. Andy Barr (left) criticized President Biden for what he called a lack of “moral clarity” on Taiwan. (Getty Images)

According to published reports, since Biden took office, there have been several high-profile instances in which his strong statements in defense of Taiwan have had to be walked back by officials within his own administration.

He told CNN in October 2021 that the US had a “commitment” to defend Taiwan if China attacked the island.

It prompted an aggressive response from the Chinese Communist Party, which accused Biden of violating the long-standing “One China” policy, which does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation with its own formal diplomatic ties.

Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki later said, “The president did not announce any change in our policy, nor has he made any decision to change our policy.”

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Congressional delegation and Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs

The delegation met with Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te and Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung, right. (Elizabeth Elkind/Fox News Digital)

Similar incidents occurred in August 2021 and in May and October 2022.

Dr. I-Chung Lai, chairman of Taiwan-based think tank The Prospect Foundation, explained that while these situations are not interpreted as wavering American support, they did undermine the president somewhat.

'It has helped people get the perception that the US government is not internally coherent in its approach, and especially the decline of the people among you… that is also what President Biden, in my opinion [not look] as authoritative as he should be. “I don't think this will help US credibility in the world,” Lai said.

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Democrats on the Taiwan visit, meanwhile, argued that Biden's statements and subsequent clearing efforts did not undermine the US position and actually reinforced the country's goal of “strategic ambiguity” vis-à-vis Beijing and Taipei.

“I think it's a plus, honestly — a feature, not a bug,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., told Fox News Digital in Taipei. “It's strategic ambiguity… but I believe he means it when he says America will stand with Taiwan.”

Xi Jinping

Rep. Andy Barr argued that the instances in which the Biden administration had to retract the president's comments on Taiwan's defense negatively impact efforts to deter Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

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Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., told Fox News Digital, “I actually think we're empowering them. Because believe me, the four times the president has made these statements, the people here in Taiwan count them all and every one of them.”

The congressional delegation is led by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and also includes the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., and Rep. Joe. Wilson, RS.C., Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back as of press time.

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