US Views Boosting Taiwan’s Military as ‘Urgent Task:’ Pentagon Official
Story Code : 967762
“Without question, bolstering Taiwan’s self-defenses is an urgent task and an essential feature of deterrence,” Ely Ratner, the US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said in a hearing session at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
His remarks came as tensions between China and the US have been at their highest in decades.
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, meaning that they should not have direct diplomatic contact with the self-proclaimed government in Taipei.
Chinese Taipei’s secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen has independence aspirations and views the island as a “sovereign state,” rejecting the One China principle. The US, though professing abidance by the principle, has long courted Taipei and sells weapons to the self-governed island.
Furthermore, US warships regularly conduct military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. China says Washington stokes regional tensions and destabilizes the waters of the South China Sea.
China has been flying fighter jets close to Chinese Taipei recently while the US has reportedly had troops deployed in the territory for the past year for alleged training purposes.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ratner claimed that China’s air and maritime campaigns around Chinese Taipei were “intentionally provocative,” saying that the move had increased the likelihood of miscalculation between armed forces in the Indo-Pacific.
“They put the prosperity and security of the region at risk, and are part of a pattern of PRC military coercion and aggression against other US allies and partners in the region, including India, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam,” he added, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
“We are seeing countries stepping up their military presence in the region and their willingness to support deterrence in a way that we haven’t before,” Ratner further said, mentioning joint military activities with Canada, Britain, and Japan.
Back in October, US President Joe Biden said the United States would come to Taipei’s aid if it were to come under attack by China, claiming it had a commitment to defend the self-ruled island. China blasted the statement, accusing Washington of meddling in its internal affairs.