The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday said that Washington’s “abiding interest” is cross-strait peace and stability, and described China’s continuing hostile actions against Taiwan as an attempt to alter the “status quo” in the region.
“The US views Taiwan security as central to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, and continues to have an abiding interest in cross-strait peace and stability,” AIT Chairman James Moriarty said at a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office in Taipei.
Moriarty, who is leading a delegation on a six-day visit to Taiwan, also said that the US is “deeply troubled” by the unrelenting political, economic and military pressure that Beijing is exerting on Taiwan, referring to it as an attempt to alter the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait.
“The US opposes unilateral attempts to alter the ‘status quo,’ because they undermine the regional framework that has enabled peace, stability and development for decades,” he said.
Beijing last month poached two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific — the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. It has also been intimidating Taiwan by circling the nation with warplanes, conducting military exercises and issuing verbal threats.
In August, it prohibited individual tourists from 47 Chinese cities from visiting Taiwan.
Taiwan has been unable to participate in the activities of many international organizations, such as meetings of the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Interpol, among others, due to China’s opposition.
Moriarty lauded significant advances in US-Taiwan relations, citing the opening of the AIT’s new complex in Taipei and Washington’s plan to sell a 66 F-16V jets to Taiwan as examples.
He described Taiwan as the first line of defense for democratic values and a valued partner in addressing key regional challenges.
“As a democratic success story and a force for good in the world, Taiwan is a natural partner of the United States,” he said.
Tsai said Taiwan-US relations are “at their best” in decades, as the two nations this year celebrate the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act, which has served as a basis for the US to maintain substantive relations with Taiwan since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing.
The nation last month sent an agricultural procurement delegation to the US and plans to buy US$3.7 billion of agricultural products over the next two years, Tsai said.
Taiwan hopes to launch negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible, to further bolster trade between the two nations, she said.
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