The White House clarified President Joe Biden’s comments after he said the U.S. would defend Taiwan if it was attacked by China, in what appeared to be a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy.

When asked by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper at a Thursday town hall event whether Biden would defend Taiwan if China attacked it, the president replied: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

Aggressive Chinese rhetoric and military activity in recent months have raised tensions in Taiwan, which has for decades governed itself as an independent state and which China claims as part of its sovereign territory.