Fox anchor, Ramaswamy clash over Taiwan: ‘They’re not just a factory’

Fox News anchor John Roberts pressed Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy over his views on defending Taiwan from China during an interview Friday.

Ramaswamy has isolated himself from the rest of the GOP primary field on a number of key policy issues, including not supporting continued aide for Ukraine in its war against Russia, and a radical proposal to cede territory taken by Russia in eastern Ukraine in exchange for Moscow ending its military alliance with China.

The tech entrepreneur’s views on Taiwan are another example of his unique agenda.

Roberts confronted Ramaswamy over his stance that America should only support Taiwan because it produces semiconductors.

“You’ve said that you’d fully back Taiwan until the U.S. becomes independent with semiconductors. So what happens after that point? Do we just give Taiwan to China,” Roberts asked.

“Don’t we also support a robust democracy off China’s shores? … They’re not just a factory,” he added.

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Ramaswamy pushed back, calling Roberts’s assertion an incorrect characterization of what he has said, saying that he would resume “strategic ambiguity” — a government practice of withholding information on a strategy in foreign policy. In this case, it is related to whether the U.S. military would intervene, and to what extent, in a war across the Taiwan Strait.

“Recall that President Trump was derided by both parties for picking up a phone call from the Taiwanese president. … I’m upgrading to strategic clarity, saying that absolutely we will defend Taiwan until we get semiconductor independence,” Ramaswamy said.

The GOP hopeful also noted the bipartisan embrace of the “one-China policy,” another word for the U.S.’s policy of strategic ambiguity in Taiwan and the position held by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that there is only one sovereign state under the name China.

“Both Republicans and Democrats, every other Republican in this race embraces the one-China policy. Strategic ambiguity, refusing to call Taiwan a nation,” Ramaswamy said.

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Roberts then pushed Ramaswamy on whether the U.S. should support a democracy off China’s shores, beyond the semiconductors. Ramaswamy responded by calling Roberts’s comments a “caricature.”

“Absolutely, but the fact of the matter is, the current U.S. establishment in both parties — including the Republican Party — does not even recognize Taiwan as a nation right now,” Ramaswamy argued.

“John, that’s actually a caricature. It’s laughable to say that when I’m saying Taiwan is a nation, that we actually will defend it until and unless we have semiconductor independence, and then we resume the status quo,” he said. “That’s honest.”

Since the first Republican primary debate, Ramaswamy has faced heightened criticism over his controversial policy stances and lack of experience.

Fellow Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley took aim at Ramaswamy for his lack of foreign policy experience, and former Vice President Mike Pence quipped that “we don’t need to bring in a rookie.”

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