US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday expressed concerns about Beijing’s “provocative” activities across the Taiwan Strait during talks with Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), a senior US official said.
The talks, which were held in Rome, focused heavily on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and took place over an “intense, seven-hour session,” reflecting the gravity of the situation, the official said during a background call with reporters.
The sides also discussed “escalatory actions” taken by North Korea, and the need for the US and China to manage their competition so that it does not veer into conflict, the official said.
Sullivan had “underscored concerns about Beijing’s course and provocative actions across the Taiwan Strait,” the official said.
He also reiterated Washington’s “one China” policy “based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques and the six assurances,” the official said, referring to the series of commitments that form the basis of US ties with both China and Taiwan.
Yang urged the US to recognize “the high sensitivity of the Taiwan question” and to abide by the “one China” principle, rather than “going further down the dangerous path” of supporting Taiwanese independence, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Taiwan Relations Act was enacted in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. It requires the US “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
The Three Joint Communiques were a series of joint statements issued by the US and China in 1972, 1979 and 1982 to define the nature of their bilateral relationship, particularly after they established diplomatic ties in 1979.
The “six assurances,” which were given by former US president Ronald Reagan to Taiwan in 1982, include pledges not to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.
They also include assurances that the US would not revise the Taiwan Relations Act or pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China.
The US has maintained that it is committed to each of the documents, while China has often complained that the act and the “six assurances” contravene the Three Joint Communiques.
In Taipei yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had received briefings from Washington both before and after the meeting between Sullivan and Yang, but that it could not reveal the details of those briefings.
“In the face of pressure from the Chinese government, we will continue to cooperate and coordinate with the United States and other like-minded countries to promote peace and stability,” ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a daily news conference. “To that end we maintain solid communication with Washington.”
The administration of US President Joe Biden has continuously given assurances that its commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid,” which has been reflected in several delegations of US officials visiting Taiwan and in the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy report released last month, she said.
The ministry on Monday also made a rare call to China, asking Beijing to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and to cooperate with the international community to stop Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine, she said.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
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