AFP — The United States is responding to China’s “provocative” behavior on Taiwan by boosting trade with the democratically run island and insisting on right of air and sea passage through the tense straits, the White House said Friday.
A new trade plan will be unveiled within days, while US forces will transit the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks, said Kurt Campbell, White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific issues and an advisor to President Joe Biden.
Campbell told reporters that communist China has used the controversial recent visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan to try and change the island’s uneasy status quo.
Insisting that the visit by Pelosi, the most senior US official to go to Taiwan in years, was “consistent” with Washington’s existing policy, Campbell said China “overreacted.”
Beijing used the pretext to “launch an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan to try to change the status quo, jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region,” he said.
“China has overreacted and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented.”
In response, the United States is reasserting its involvement in the area, while reiterating the policy of diplomatically recognizing China while simultaneously supporting Taiwan’s self-rule.
Campbell said the administration would continue to “deepen our ties with Taiwan, including through continuing to advance our economic and trade relationship.”
“For example, we’re developing an ambitious roadmap for trade negotiations which we intend to announce in the coming days,” he said.
Campbell said that the United States will reassert its rights to use international air and sea space between Taiwan and China.
US forces “will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation.”
“That includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” he told reporters.
Campbell did not confirm what kind of deployment would be made to support the maneuvers, saying he had no “comments about either the nature of our crossings or the timings across the Taiwan Straits.”
Criticizing China’s decision to halt cooperation with Washington on issues including the fight against climate change, Campbell said “we have and will continue to keep lines of communication open with Beijing.”
The official noted that Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have asked staff to arrange an in-person summit, but he declined to comment on reports that this could take place during the G20 group meeting in Bali this November.
“We don’t have anything further in terms of details on time or location,” he said.