US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper yesterday wrote on Twitter that the US remains “committed to a democratic Taiwan.”
“Partnerships: we continue to build closer relationships with Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and other Pacific Island nations. We remain committed to a democratic Taiwan,” he wrote, while sharing a map of Southeast Asia.
The tweet followed one from an hour earlier, which said: “As an Indo-Pacific nation, the #USA is investing in preparedness, strengthening partnerships, and promoting a more networked region.”
Photo: screen grab from Twitter
The US and China have been increasing military patrols in the region as bilateral tensions spike.
The Associated Press on Friday reported that three US Navy aircraft carriers were patrolling the Indo-Pacific for the first time in nearly three years.
China’s South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative yesterday on Twitter wrote that two US Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers were detected in the East China and South China seas near Taiwan’s airspace.
An image shared by the initiative showed that one of the tankers had departed from Okinawa, while the other was only identified as flying over the Bashi Channel.
A Chinese J-10 fighter was yesterday morning detected briefly entering Taiwan’s southwest airspace, but it left after being warned, the Ministry of National Defense said in a news release, confirming media reports.
The ministry constantly monitors the situation in Taiwan’s surrounding seas and airspace, and takes necessary action to defend national security, it said, without commenting on the reported passage of US aircraft when asked by media.
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