The United States said on Monday that it was setting up a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan, an initiative it said was aimed at strengthening ties with Taipei and in support of increased pressure from Beijing.
Washington also said it had rejected six security assurances given to Taiwan during the era of US President Ronald Reagan – a move analysts said intended to show further support for Taipei.
US Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stillwell, made the announcements on Monday, amid continued deterioration in relations between Washington and Beijing and China’s growing pressure on democratically-ruled Taiwan, which he considers part of his territory . .
Stillwell said the US is intensifying support for the island. “Increasing threats in the area of peace and stability by Beijing” and “deep ties of friendship, trade and productivity” with Taiwan.
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Washington severed formal diplomatic relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979, but the US is bound by law to protect Taiwan and is the main arms supplier to the island. The administration of current US President Donald Trump has strengthened its support for the island, and also boosted the sale of weapons and equipment.
Trump is campaigning again in November with a tight approach to China among his major foreign policy platforms, accusing his rival Democrat Joe Biden of being weak on China.
In August, Trump also sent his health secretary, Alex Azar, to Taipei – the largest US official to have visited the island in years – angered Beijing.
Stillwell told a virtual forum hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation that the latest US moves were not a policy change, but part of a set of “significant adjustments” within Washington’s long-standing “one-China” policy Huh.
“We will continue to help Taipei to resist the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to pressure, intimidate and marginalize Taiwan,” Stillwell said.
“With a population of 23 million, Taiwan continues to punch above its weight in economics and governance, making the world a better place.”
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Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed thanks for the show of support when it said China was using military threats to harm peace and stability near Taiwan, adding that it would continue to strengthen its defense capabilities .
Earlier on Monday, Beijing said it was destined to thwart anti-China declarations by some American politicians, after another Trump official, National Security Advisor Robert O. Bryan, said Friday that the US should be Must use alliance. “Challenges” introduced by China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a press briefing on Monday that some officials in the US were inspired by the “zero-zero game mentality” and “Cold War mentality and personal gains”.
Early in the Trump administration, Stillwell’s predecessor Daniel Russell said the “Six Assurance” made to Taipei by the Reagan administration in 1982 was “loosely placed” at best.
He said the decision to publish them seemed like a reaction to pressure from the administration to drop “strategic ambiguity” – a longstanding policy of explicitly withdrawing America’s commitment to protect Taiwan. Still showing enough support to take any Chinese army into custody. Dare.
This is quite a speech by Taiwanese @USAsiaPacific
Main Stillwell. It says that almost everything Taipei would like to say to the US: like: China is the problem, not Taiwan; Taiwan needs more international rooms. The US will continue to sell arms to Taiwan. https://t.co/lC56WurlXV
– Julian Kuo 舉 古 倫 (@julianku) August 31, 2020
Amid the assurances made in 1982, but never formally made public, there are statements that the US has not set a date to end arms sales to Taiwan, nor Beijing on such sales Prior consultation with or agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act, US policy towards the island.
Assurance, Stillwell said, “endure today”.
Al Jazeera and news agencies