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U.S. must not accept any coercive unification moves by China: officer

2018/02/15 19:36:53

CNA file photo

Washington, Feb. 14 (CNA) A senior American military officer said in the United States Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. will continue to help Taiwan defend itself and that any attempt by China to force Taiwan into unification must be deemed unacceptable.

Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), said Taiwan's open economy and prosperous, free, and democratic society "reflect the shared values between Taiwan and the U.S."

While the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, "we maintain a substantive and robust relationship with the people of Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979," Harris said in a hearing of the House Armed Forces Committee.

"In line with this policy, USPACOM will continue supporting Taiwan's efforts to develop a credible, resilient, and cost-effective deterrent and self-defense capability," he said in a statement on the U.S. military posture and security challenges in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

He said arms sales and training for Taiwan's military are an important part of that policy and help ensure the preservation of (Taiwan's) democratic institutions.

As China's military spending and capability continue to grow every year, the ability of Taiwan to defend itself decreases, Harris said.

Against such a backdrop, he said, "we must continue to help Taiwan defend itself and demonstrate U.S. resolve that any attempt by China to force reunification on the people of Taiwan is unacceptable."

USPACOM has supported extensive security cooperation activities with Taiwan in the areas of air and missile defense, maritime security, logistic support and joint operations and training, according to the commander.

(By CNA correspondent and S.C. Chang)