The US continues to support Taiwan through the “faithful implementation” of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), ensuring that the nation can defend itself in the face of a growing threat from China, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said on Thursday.
Answering questions at a seminar in Washington on China’s global rise, Schriver said that the US is well aware of Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness in pursuit of unification with Taiwan, whether by stealing away its diplomatic allies or conducting military drills around the nation.
However, he added that there is a lot of support and goodwill for Taiwan, a democratic economy that is the 11th-largest trading partner of the US.
Calling Taipei-Washington ties an important relationship, Schriver said that the US would ensure that Taiwanese have a say in the nation’s future.
The TRA, which has been in place for 40 years, he said.
“We continue to support Taiwan through faithful implementation of the TRA to ensure they have the needed capabilities to deter aggression from China,” Schriver said.
He praised the ingenious design of the TRA.
“The TRA gives us the flexibility to provide Taiwan weapons of a self-defensive character for Taiwan’s sufficient self-defense,” Schriver said.
Taiwan is also doing its part amid China’s growing military strength, he said, adding that the government has promised to increase its defense budget.
That pledge is encouraging, Schriver said, adding that the US would continue to supply arms.
Asked if US should adjust its arms sales to Taiwan, Schriver said that as the threat from across the Taiwan Strait has grown, “things we do with Taiwan have also naturally evolved.”
Although officials at the US Department of Defense do not talk in public about these issues, Schriver said: “Rest assured, we meet the standards that the [TRA] sets for us to maintain the capacity [of Taiwan] to resist force.”
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