The US Department of State on Wednesday reaffirmed its “rock-solid” commitment to Taiwan and said that Washington maintains the ability to resist any actions that would threaten Taiwan’s security, as China steps up its military pressure.
The remarks by State Department spokesman Ned Price came as a Chinese aircraft carrier group conducted drills in waters off Taiwan and as 15 Chinese planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone that day, in the fifth straight day of such incursions.
Asked at a press briefing about Beijing’s apparent ratcheting up of pressure on Taipei, Price reaffirmed that the US’ commitment to Taiwan remains “rock solid.”
Washington has watched with great concern China’s ongoing efforts to intimidate countries in the region, including Taiwan, he said.
In support of longstanding US policy, including the Taiwan Relations Act, the US “maintains the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social and economic system of the people on Taiwan,” he said.
On the same day, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense was asked if the transit of a US naval vessel through the Taiwan Strait was related to the recent uptick in tension.
The USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 7 through international waters in accordance with international law,” a press statement by the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said.
However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the US does not conduct freedom of navigation exercises around the world in response to specific events or actions, but rather to demonstrate its commitment to the freedom of all nations to “sail, operate and fly in accordance with international law.”
Asked to comment on Price’s remarks, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) yesterday questioned who is really using intimidation tactics in the Taiwan Strait, as well as other places around the world.
US vessels have been flexing their muscles in the Taiwan Strait, sending wrong signals to pro-Taiwan independence forces and posing a threat to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, he said at a news briefing, while highlighting US’ military action in the Middle East over the past few decades.
China has never meant to intimidate anyone, nor will it fear anybody’s intimidation, he said, urging the US to abide by the “one China” principle and the three Sino-US joint communiques.
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