Thu, Oct 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Hong Kong: US likely to discuss Taiwan, HK with China

Staff writer, with CNA

US Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: CNA

A senior US official in charge of security affairs in the Indo-Pacific region on Tuesday said that he expects to raise issues related to Taiwan and Hong Kong with Chinese counterparts during his visit to China next week.

“I imagine it [the Taiwan issue] will come up, it usually does,” said US Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said at a Brookings Institution forum in Washington when asked whether Taiwan and Hong Kong would be discussed.

“Our position is pretty consistent and clear. So if they raise it, I’ll have an opportunity to reiterate our policies and where we do have concerns,” he said.

Due to escalating tensions in Hong Kong, Schriver said the issue is also likely to be touched upon during his upcoming meetings in Beijing with Chinese officials.

Reiterating the US’ stance, Schriver said Washington hopes the situation will be resolved “in a way that preserves the rights and the freedoms and the dignity of the people of Hong Kong.”

“We are concerned with, not the levels of protest, but the response to it and what appears to be an increasingly heavy hand, and so it is concerning to us. We want to see the basic rights and freedoms of the people restored,” he said.

When asked what the US could do to help Taiwan counter China’s growing pressure, Schriver said the framework provided under the US’ Taiwan Relations Act gives Washington a level of flexibility to provide assistance.

“We’ve made some decisions recently on security assistance that was consistent with the law and the growing threat from China,” he said, without specifying what those decisions were.

He might have been referring to the US government’s decision to sell 66 advanced F-16V jets to Taiwan to bolster its defensive capabilities.

Schriver also said that there is “very little doubt” that China will seek to meddle in Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections in January next year.

With Beijing’s methods of interfering in Taiwanese politics growing more sophisticated through social media, Washington is “doing certain things” to support “a fellow democracy in carrying out a free, fair and noncoercive election, particularly on the cyberspace,” Schriver said, without elaborating.

In the longer run, the US will continue to be a strong partner of Taiwan on the security and economic fronts to help Taiwan maintain its unique status until the two sides of the Taiwan Strait find a better way to resolve their differences, he said.

The forum was held as Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China.

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