The United States has reaffirmed its support for Taiwan in the face of threatening activity from the Chinese military.
On January 23 and 24, the People’s Republic of China, the PRC, sent multiple warplanes near Taiwan and into the island’s air defense identification zone.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement, “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.”
The PRC has increasingly been conducting sorties near Taiwan this past year, but rarely with so many planes or with so much fire power. According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, the PRC group included fighter jets and bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
In another provocative move, the PRC recently passed a law explicitly permitting its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. China claims much of the South China Sea to be under its jurisdiction. On January 27, the Government of the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against the law.
On January 23, the U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea to conduct routine operations, promoting freedom of the seas. Rear Admiral Doug Verissimo, Commander of the Carrier Strike Group 9 said, “With two-thirds of the world’s trade travelling through this very important region, it is vital that we maintain our presence and continue to promote the rules-based order which has allowed us all to prosper.”
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price declared in his statement, “We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region – and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan.”
“The United States,” he said, “maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Our Commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”