The US Department of State on Wednesday reiterated that the use of force by any party to change the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait would be a “profound mistake.”
At a news briefing, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price quoted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying: “It would be a profound mistake by any party to try and remake that ‘status quo’ with the use of force.”
China was not mentioned, but the statement was seen as a veiled message to Beijing.
China has said that it wants “peaceful reunification,” but it has not renounced the use of force in stopping Taiwan from achieving formal independence or a foreign country from interfering.
Price made the remarks after US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell on Tuesday during a videoconference with the Asia Society Policy Institute said that any Chinese move against Taiwan would be “catastrophic,” and that the administration of US President Joe Biden was sending a clear message of deterrence against Chinese aggression in the Taiwan Strait.
In response to Campbell, the Chinese Ministry of Defense told Washington to tread carefully.
The US would continue to support the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, Price said, adding that this was consistent “with the long-standing wishes and the best interests of the people on Taiwan.”
Washington has repeatedly urged Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan, and to instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taipei, he added.
The US’ commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid,” and “contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the broader region,” Price said.
For four decades, the US’ policy has been consistent, and its “one China” policy has been guided by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the Three Joint Communiques and the “six assurances” provided to Taipei, he added.
“That has not changed,” he said.
New guidelines were issued regarding contact between the US government and Taiwanese officials in April, Price said, adding that the changes encourage closer engagement and reflect the two sides’ current relationship.
While based on the US’ “one China” policy, the guidance allows Washington to deepen its partnership with Taiwan and its people, he added.
Under the policy, Washington acknowledges, but does not openly accept Beijing’s claim that mainland China and Taiwan are part of one China to be reunified one day.
The guidance adopted by Washington allows US officials to meet with Taiwanese officials whenever needed and in formal settings.
Taiwan has welcomed the guidelines as the “turning of a new page” in Taiwan-US relations, but Beijing has criticized them for changing the “status quo” and potentially emboldening the Democratic Progressive Party administration, which favors independence.
Since 1979, when Washington switched diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing, the TRA has defined the substantial but non-diplomatic ties between the US and Taiwan.
The “six assurances” are key foreign policy principles established by the US regarding ties between Washington and Taipei, while the Three Joint Communiques were joint statements by the US and China that played a crucial role in cementing their relations.
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