The US would continue to fulfill its commitments to Taiwan’s self-defense needs and to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.
The comments came after Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel Wu Qian (吳謙) defended Beijing’s increased military activity in the Taiwan Strait, saying that Taiwan “independence means war.”
Kirby said that Wu’s remarks were “unfortunate and certainly not commensurate with our intention to meet our obligations under the [US] Taiwan Relations Act.”
The US Department of Defense “sees no reason why tensions over Taiwan need to lead to anything like confrontation,” he said in response to media queries at a news conference.
On the broader issue of Taiwan, “nothing has changed” on the Pentagon’s commitments to the act and the Three Joint Communiques between the US and China, Kirby said, citing remarks made by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his confirmation hearing.
“This is something that has been supported in a bipartisan way for decades and the Department of Defense under [Austin’s] leadership will continue that same support for its obligations to Taiwan’s self-defense,” he said.
Asked if the US was ready and able to defend Taiwan against a potential Chinese invasion, Kirby said the question was “hypothetical,” adding that the US military “remains ready in all respects to meet our security commitments in the region.”
The Taiwan Relations Act was promulgated in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
The act also requires the US “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
The Three Joint Communiques are a collection of statements made by the US and Chinese governments from 1972 to 1982, in which the US “acknowledges” China’s position on Taiwan, among other things.
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