The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed “sincere gratitude” toward the US for taking “concrete actions” to maintain security and peace in the Taiwan Strait and the region, after the White House on Friday said it would boost trade with Taiwan and insist on the right of air and sea passage in the area in response to China’s “provocative” behavior.
A new trade plan is to be unveiled within days, while US forces are to transit the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks, US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell told reporters in a teleconference.
The statement came after Beijing raged at last week’s trip to Taipei by US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi, launching its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan proper.
Campbell said that Pelosi’s visit was “consistent” with Washington’s existing policy and that China had “overreacted.”
Beijing used the pretext to “launch an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan to try to change the status quo, jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region,” he said. “China has overreacted and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented.”
In response to China’s drills, the US is reasserting its involvement in the area, while reiterating its policy of “strategic ambiguity” — diplomatically recognizing China, while simultaneously supporting Taiwan.
Campbell said the administration would continue to “deepen our ties with Taiwan, including through continuing to advance our economic and trade relationship.”
“For example, we’re developing an ambitious road map for trade negotiations, which we intend to announce in the coming days,” he said.
The US would also reassert its right to use international air and sea space between Taiwan and China, he said.
US forces “will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation,” he said.
“That includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” he told reporters.
Campbell did not confirm what kind of deployment would be made to support the maneuvers, saying he had no “comments about either the nature of our crossings or the timings across the Taiwan Strait.”
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said in a statement that China’s “unprovoked military and econom[ic] intimidation” had “further strengthened the unity and resilience of the global democratic camp.”
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday said that China’s threat of force is undiminished, even though Beijing’s largest-ever military drills seemed to be scaling down.
At a rally in the south yesterday for November’s local elections, Tsai said the Democratic Progressive Party was not just facing rival candidates, “but also pressure from China.”
“Taiwanese are very enthusiastic and love freedom and democracy. So many good international friends have come to Taiwan to support us. This is a normal and good thing, but China threatens and intimidates Taiwan,” she said.
“However, I would like to reassure everyone that both our government and the military are prepared, and I will definitely take care of Taiwan,” she added.
Criticizing China’s decision to halt cooperation with Washington on issues including the fight against climate change, Campbell on Friday said that “we have and will continue to keep lines of communication open with Beijing.”
He added that US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) have asked staff to arrange an in-person summit, but he declined to comment on reports that this could take place during the G20 meeting in Bali in November.
“We don’t have anything further in terms of details on time or location,” he said.
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