US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (AP/PTI Photo)
Washington: Amid flexing China’s military muscle across the Taiwan Strait, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Friday (local time) that Washington is committed to the security of its allies and partners, including Japan.
These statements come at a time when the People’s Republic of China launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles towards Taiwan. They landed in the waters to the northeast, east and southeast of the island. Japan also reported that five of those missiles landed in its exclusive economic zone, causing serious concern.
“We will commit to our allies and partners and will work with and through regional organizations to enable friends in the region to make their own decisions, without coercion. We will take further steps to demonstrate our commitment to the security of our allies,” Blinken said at the conclusion of his visit to Cambodia, which was the first leg of the Secretary’s tour of the Indo-Pacific and Africa. in the region, including Japan.
Blinken did not back down from Chinese aggression, he said during a media briefing: “We will fly, sail and operate where international law permits. We will continue to conduct standard air and sea transits through the Taiwan Strait, consistent with our longstanding approach to working with allies and partners in support of freedom of navigation and overflight, which It enabled the region to thrive for many decades.”
Blinken has now arrived in Manila on his first visit to the Philippines as a minister. Ahead of the visit, the foreign minister said, “The People’s Liberation Army has now declared seven no-go zones near Taiwan and says it will extend the scope of military exercises until Monday.”
These provocative actions greatly escalate. We have seen how Beijing has tried to change the status quo in Taiwan for some time – for example, doubling the number of aircraft over the midline separating China and Taiwan over the past two years; Exercising economic coercion, political interference and cyber attacks against Taiwan. Now they have taken dangerous actions to a new level.”
The United States has consistently and repeatedly told the People’s Republic of China that we do not seek and will not cause a crisis. Taiwanese President Tsai said the same. Blinken noted that China chose to overreact and use the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an excuse to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.
We expected China to take steps like these. In fact, we describe exactly this scenario. The truth is that the president’s visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme and disproportionate military response and escalation.”
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Minister Blinken reiterated the US position on the “one China” policy and said nothing had changed about it. He stated that the “one China” policy is guided by the Law on Relations with Taiwan, the Three Statements and the Six Affirmations.
We do not want unilateral changes to the status quo from any side. We do not support Taiwan independence. We expect differences across the strait to be resolved peacefully, not by coercion or force.”
Even the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also issued a statement on the need to de-escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The G7 rejected Beijing’s attempt to coerce and intimidate Taiwan. There are serious concerns not only for Taiwan but that such actions by Beijing could destabilize the broader region.
From our side, the United States will not be provoked. We will continue to do what we have done for a long time. We will support peace and stability across the straits and freedom and openness between the Indo-Pacific. You’ll see that in the coming days and weeks.”
Nearly half of the global container fleet and about 90 percent of the world’s largest ships passed through the strait this year. This is just one reason why these actions by Beijing are so disruptive,” Blinken continued.
The foreign minister said the United States continues to support Taiwan in peace and stability across the Straits. Blinken said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had instructed the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to remain in its position in the general area to monitor the situation.
“In short, the world will see that we continue to support the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and advance our common goals throughout the Indo-Pacific region. This is what the region expects of us: to be a consistent and responsible leader.”
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