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US vows to use global clout to defend Taiwan against China

ANI | Updated: Jun 18, 2021 21:15 IST

Washington [US], June 18 (ANI): The United States has pledged to use its global clout and alliances to strengthen Taiwan's defence, international presence and economy, including its vital semiconductor industry, against China.
US administrative officials told Congress on Thursday that Washington will also make clear that Taipei must avoid any provocative action that would compel Beijing to respond, even as it pressures Taiwan to increase its military spending, invest in more mobile coastal cruise missile systems and strengthen its military reserves, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Jonathan Fritz, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for China, Mongolia and Taiwan coordination, said that a 'porcupine' approach has been undertaken to counter the potential cost of any Chinese invasion.
The President Joe Biden-led administration will also counter Chinese efforts to block Taiwan's participation in the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations and its 'poaching' of diplomatic allies, said the officials.
The administration also said it aims to help Taiwan gain a seat at the World Health Organization (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
"They deserve a voice in the room... Shutting them out of last month's World Health Assembly under pressure from the People's Republic of China weakened us all. There is clearly much more work to be done," said Erica Barks-Ruggles, senior bureau official at the State Department's bureau of international organizations affairs.
One way for the US to counter China's growing clout at the UN, which fuels its Taiwan containment strategy, is to recruit and staff more American nationals throughout the UN system, "so that we can fight back against this bullying that has been happening", said Barks-Ruggles.
However, US officials were careful Thursday to reiterate Washington's long-standing commitment to the one-China policy, SCMP reported.

That said, Chinese policies are doing little to convince the 24 million people living in Taiwan that they should embrace reunification, US officials added.
"Clearly [People's Republic of China] promises of a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong, and maintenance of Hong Kong's civil liberties, have been completely and thoroughly discredited over the last year, particularly since the unilateral enactment of the national security law," Fritz said.
Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah and former presidential candidate added that the crackdown on Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper and arrest of its top executive on Thursday further undercut Beijing's case.
"This has got to underscore in the minds of the people of Taiwan that China has a very different intent than allowing them to operate on their own if they were somehow combined with China," he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan on Thursday reported another incursion by China, as seven Chinese air forces warplanes flew into the island's air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
It comes just two days after the People Liberation Army sent a record 28 planes to the island's ADIZ, SCMP reported.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Recently, the Group of Seven Seven leaders issued a joint statement, slamming China for a series of issues and underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait -- comments China condemned as "slander."
Taiwan has complained in recent months of repeated missions by China's air force near the island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. (ANI)