Sat, Jun 23, 2018 - Page 1 News List

PRC eyeing ‘status quo’ shift, US says

SHARED VALUES:The basis of the US-Taiwan relationship is a commitment to democracy and making positive contributions to the international system, Alex Wong said

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

US Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Alex Wong delivers a speech at the 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on March 21.

Photo: CNA

A US official on Thursday expressed concern over attempts by China to change the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, as seen in Beijing’s escalating efforts to suppress Taiwan internationally.

US Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Alex Wong (黃之瀚) pointed to recent actions taken by China to squeeze Taiwan’s international space to make contributions that benefit the international community, such as offering humanitarian assistance and taking part in the World Health Assembly.

“Stability in the region is dependent on the status quo across the Strait. So the US government is very concerned about any attempts to disturb that status quo,” Wong said during a discussion on US strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific region held as part of the annual conference of the Center for a New American Security.

Beyond the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-China communiques and Washington’s “one China” policy, the basis of the US-Taiwan relationship is shared values, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to market economics and a commitment to making positive contributions to the international system, Wong said.

“So in that respect, Taiwan plays a very strong and important role in the Pacific because it’s embodied in the type of reform, the type of value, that we want to promote throughout the Pacific and throughout the world,” he said.

He also mentioned the new office building of the American Institute in Taiwan, which he said is a demonstration of the “enduring nature of our relationship.”

US Principal Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Helvey said that Taiwan is a critically important partner of the US and that Washington continues to make available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to maintain its self-defense.

Taiwan’s role in the Indo-Pacific region strategy lies in its ability to maintain investment in its own capability to maintain the right type of deterrence and balance across the Taiwan Strait, so it can interact with China in a way that is consistent with its overall approach toward the cross-strait relationship, he said.

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