China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.
Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei.
“In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the US and its allies and partners.
“The PRC’s repressive actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, military adventurism in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, discriminatory economic policies and economic coercion of our allies, as well as cyberattacks on the United States and many others all threaten the rules-based order,” Oudkirk said.
“The PRC’s increasingly aggressive behavior is nowhere more evident than in relation to Taiwan, where the PRC has continued to exert military, diplomatic and economic pressure,” she added.
“Continued efforts by Beijing to choke Taiwan’s international space, pressure its friends and interfere in Taiwan’s democratic system represent a threat to all democracies,” she said.
Oudkirk said that the three hallmarks of US President Joe Biden’s multilateral approach to Taiwan are US leadership, democracy and cooperation.
“US support for Taiwan remains rock solid, principled and bipartisan, and is in line with America’s ‘one China’ policy and longstanding American commitments,” she said, reiterating that Washington’s policy toward Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques and the “six assurances.”
“America will support Taiwan as it resists the PRC’s efforts to constrain its appropriate participation on the world stage,” she said.
Describing Taiwan as the “Silicon Island” of Asia, Oudkirk said: “Taiwan is a central node of the globe’s semiconductor ecosystem and a cutting-edge pioneer on emerging technologies ranging from 5G-ORAN to artificial intelligence.”
Countering threats to cybersecurity is another growing focus for bilateral cooperation, she added.
“Regarding the crucial role Taiwan plays in global supply chains, including in critical technologies like semiconductors, we will continue to work together to ensure these supply chains remain safe and secure,” she said.
Oudkirk spoke positively about the second Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue held on Tuesday, saying it helped reinforce existing areas of economic cooperation, forge new economic ties between the US and Taiwan, and build a coalition to counter the PRC’s unfair economic and investment policies.
Regarding bilateral security cooperation, the US remains committed to helping Taiwan maintain its ability to deter aggression, defend itself, and work together on shared challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Indo-Pacific region, she said.
“We have a shared and abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” which is central to the security and stability of the broader Indo-Pacific region and to the US, Oudkirk said.
“The US will continue to … oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan,” she said.
Oudkirk added she is excited that Taiwan plans to participate in the virtual Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, adding that cooperation between Washington and Taipei helps build a capable and resilient regional order.
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