The US has for the first time held high-level talks with the UK over how they can cooperate more to reduce the likelihood of war with China over Taiwan, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell and US National Security Council China and Taiwan Senior Director Laura Rosenberger held a meeting on Taiwan with UK representatives in early March, the newspaper said in a report yesterday.
It quoted “three people familiar with the stepped-up engagement” as saying that the “US wanted to boost cooperation with European allies, such as the UK, to raise awareness about what the administration regards as Beijing’s increasingly assertive attitude toward Taiwan.”
“The US is not engaging the UK because of an imminent threat. The Taiwan dialogue is intended to complement more advanced discussions that the US has been holding with Japan and Australia, as Beijing has stepped up military activity around Taiwan,” it added.
The report quoted a UK official as saying that the meeting was the “highest-level and most significant discussion between the countries on Taiwan to date.”
The report said that the White House would not comment on the matter and that a UK government spokesperson said: “We never comment on private meetings,” but it quoted a Taiwanese official as saying that “Taipei was aware of the US’ efforts to involve more allies in its Taiwan planning.”
Former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia Heino Klinck was quoted by the Financial Times as welcoming the talks.
“Deterring Chinese aggression against Taiwan is in everyone’s interest,” Klinck said. “US military planners are not counting on Germany or France sending warships, or Britain sending a carrier in the case of a conflict over Taiwan. But when those countries send ships to the South China Sea, or transit the Taiwan Strait, it sends a strong signal to China.”
In Taipei, the Ministry of National Defense on Saturday said that two Chinese military aircraft had earlier that day flown into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
The air force responded by scrambling intercept jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets, it said.
The ministry has been publishing information about such flights since September 2020, amid a rising number of intrusions into the ADIZ by the Chinese military.
The largest number of flights in a single day was 56, recorded on Oct. 4 last year, while the highest number this year was 39 on Jan. 23, the ministry said.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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