The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation.
She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio.
“There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification, and the United States is confident that there is no imminent threat of invasion for Taiwan,” she added.
Last month, US President Joe Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco, where they discussed the security situation in the Taiwan Strait.
The White House said that Biden called on China to exercise restraint regarding military activity in and around Taiwan, while Reuters reported that Xi demanded that the US stop sending weapons to Taiwan and support Beijing’s plans to annex it.
On whether Washington would halt weapons sales to Taipei at Xi’s request, Oudkirk said that selling Taiwan defensive weapons is part of the US’ long-standing “one China” policy, which has bipartisan support among US lawmakers and remains unchanged.
“Part of that approach to Taiwan is the agreement that the United States will sell defensive weapons to Taiwan, sort of linked to the level of threat that Taiwan faces,” she said. “So that’s a commitment that the United States has made, and that isn’t going to change.”
A recent survey titled, “American Portrait,” conducted by Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies, showed that only 34 percent of Taiwanese believe the US is a trustworthy country, a drop of 11 percentage points from 2011.
Regarding how the US can counter disinformation and false claims spread online about the US, and people in Taiwan who say that Washington is an unreliable partner, Oudkirk said that the US should be talking more.
“The way to push back against disinformation and sort of deliberate information manipulation is to talk and to engage and to be approachable, and also to work on things like media literacy,” she said.
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