The US on Tuesday backed Taiwan’s assertion that the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway, a further rebuff to Beijing’s claim to exercise sovereignty over the strategic passage.
On Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country “has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait,” and called it “a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters.’”
On Tuesday, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said in an e-mail: “The Taiwan Strait is an international waterway, meaning that the Taiwan Strait is an area where high-seas freedoms, including freedom of navigation and overflight, are guaranteed under international law.”
The world has “an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and we consider this central to the security and prosperity of the broader Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
Price reiterated US concerns about China’s “aggressive rhetoric and coercive activity regarding Taiwan,” and said the US “would continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting through the Taiwan Strait.”
In Taipei, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said the Strait was by “no means China’s inland sea.”
“China’s ambition to swallow up Taiwan has never stopped or been concealed,” he told reporters. “The Taiwan Strait is a maritime area for free international navigation.”
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that Taipei was “cooperating with external forces to hype up the issue.”
This “harms the interests of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and betrays the interests of the Chinese nation — it is despicable,” office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in Beijing.
In related news, Japan and Australia’s defense ministers yesterday vowed to step up their ties to support democratic values in the Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to work more closely with Southeast Asia and the Pacific island nations where China is seeking to expand its influence.
Australian Minister for Defence Richard Marles and his Japanese counterpart, Nobuo Kishi, said that regionwide cooperation is necessary to maintain and strengthen the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, where there is growing fear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might embolden China to increase its assertiveness.
“It is clear that our region faces the most complex set of strategic circumstances we have had since the end of World War II and what the region does matters,” Marles told a joint news conference in Tokyo after holding talks with Kishi.
“Only by working together can we uphold the rules-based international order, contribute to an effective balance of military power and ensure our region remains stable, peaceful and prosperous,” Marles added.
Kishi said the two ministers shared their concerns about the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said they remain strongly opposed to any unilateral change of the “status quo” in the East and South China seas, and reaffirmed their commitment to a mutual vision of “a free and open” international order of the seas.
NOT BUYING IT: One of the goals of Beijing’s Cross-Strait Media People Summit was to draw mainstream media executives to discuss the ‘one country, two systems’ formula Taiwanese news media insist on press freedom and professionalism, and would never become a tool of China’s “united front” campaign, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, responding to media queries about the lack of Taiwanese media executives at the Cross-Strait Media People Summit in Beijing. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Huning (王滬寧) was reportedly furious that no Taiwanese media representatives attended a scheduled meeting with him on Thursday last week. “Beijing should take Taiwan’s determination to pursue freedom and democracy seriously. We also hope that it will not use vicious means to interfere with Taiwan’s development into a
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
Beijing yesterday blamed US “provocation” for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident came at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US this year. “The United States’ long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China’s national sovereignty and security,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said when asked about the latest incident. “This