US assist for Taiwan ‘rock-solid’ after China sends warplanes | Battle Information
The United States reiterated its support for Taiwan after eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the island’s air defense zone.
The US State Department said Saturday it was “with concern about the pattern of [China’s] continued attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan ”.
“We urge Beijing to end its military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected officials,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Washington will continue to deepen ties with Taiwan and ensure its defense against Chinese threats while supporting a peaceful resolution of the problems between the sides, the statement said.
The US urges Beijing to end its military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected officials. We support a peaceful solution to cross-strait problems. https://t.co/o2rZL4onJ8
– Ned Price (@statedeptspox) January 24, 2021
“Our commitment to Taiwan is absolutely solid and contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and region,” he added.
There was no immediate response from China.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said China has dispatched eight bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets into the airspace southwest of the island. This is part of a longstanding pattern of Chinese raids aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to respond to Beijing’s request to recognize Taiwan as part of Chinese territory.
The recent Chinese overflight followed President Joe Biden’s inauguration and underscored the island’s persistent position on the plethora of disputes between the sides, including human rights, trade disputes and, most recently, questions about China’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration has shown little evidence of easing pressure on China on such issues, although this encourages a return to more civil dialogue.
Taiwan’s State Department thanked the US for support on Sunday, adding that it would work closely with the Biden government to strengthen their partnership.
Lo Chih-cheng, a senior lawmaker for Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party who sits on the parliament’s committee on foreign affairs and defense, told Reuters that China was trying to stop the new US administration from supporting the island.
“It sends a message to the Biden administration,” he said.
Taiwan and China split during the civil war in 1949, and China says it is determined to forcibly bring the island under its control if necessary.
The US shifted diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but has a legal obligation to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and that the self-governing Democratic Island in Washington has strong support from both parties.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne also reiterated US commitment to Taiwan after the island’s de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, attended Biden’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
In a final blow to China, the outgoing UN ambassador to the Trump administration tweeted that it was time for the world to oppose China’s efforts to exclude and isolate Taiwan, and drew sharp criticism from Beijing.
Ambassador Kelly Craft accompanied the tweet with a photo of herself at the United Nations General Assembly, where the island is banned.
She was carrying a handbag with a stuffed Taiwanese bear, a gift from Taiwan’s representative in New York, Ambassador James Lee.
Tsai has tried to bolster the island’s defenses by purchasing billions of dollars in U.S. arms, including upgraded F-16 fighter jets, armed drones, missile systems, and harpoon missiles that can hit ships and land targets.
She has also stepped up support for Taiwan’s indigenous defense industry, including launching a program to build new submarines to counter China’s ever-increasing sea capabilities.
China’s growing threat stems from the fact that economic and political incentives bear little fruit and host war games almost daily and send warplanes and reconnaissance aircraft to the island of 24 million people, which is 160 km off China’s southeast coast across the Taiwan Strait.