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U.S. experts call for Washington support for Taiwan

2019/02/13 19:18:02

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New York, Feb. 12 (CNA) As China is seeking to pressure Taiwan's government toward unification, the United States should provide stronger support for Taiwan by expressing its concern about China's increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan, a group of 17 U.S. specialists on China affairs said in a report released Tuesday.

In the report by the Task Force on U.S.-China Policy, the authors, however, suggested that to avoid exacerbating cross- Taiwan Strait tension or triggering an attack on Taiwan by China, Washington should not alter its "one China policy," which was established by the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué and reinforced in subsequent U.S.-China communiques.

While not challenging the claim that there is one China and that Taiwan is part of China , the policy does not take a position in favor of unification, and seeks to maintain stability in the strait by insisting on a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue, the task force wrote.

"Clarity and continuity in U.S. policy will be particularly important during Taiwan's 2020 presidential election campaign, which could increase cross-strait tension," the task force wrote.

Therefore, while adhering to its one China policy to maintain stability across the strait, the U.S. should give "strong support" for Taiwan by expressing its concern about China's increased pressure on Taiwan and calling for a resumption of dialogue across the strait, the report said.

It should also permit appropriate high-level official visits between the United States and Taiwan, explore further trade and investment liberalization with Taiwan and continue to push for increased participation for Taiwan in international organizations and activities for which statehood is not a requirement, according to the authors.

In addition, the United States should assist Taiwan in developing asymmetric capabilities to hold off the massively superior mainland military until the United States can bring forces to bear, they wrote.

The report states that Beijing has conducted military exercises designed to threaten Taiwan and to deter the U.S. from defending it.

As Beijing increases pressure on Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has highlighted the importance of unification by linking the resolution of the Taiwan issue to the greater project of the rejuvenation of China, according to the report.

Since the U.S. is committed to "peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue" by virtue of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué and the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, rising tension across the strait and the emergence of a harder line in Beijing raise the risk of a confrontation between American and Chinese forces, according to the authors.

Washington must stand ready to deter unprovoked military aggression by Beijing against Taiwan and must maintain a strong and credible military presence in the Western Pacific to convince Beijing that the United States still has serious military options, despite China's rising military capabilities, according to the report.

The report titled "Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy" marks the second set of policy recommendations issued by the task force comprised of China specialists from around the U.S..

The task force was convened by the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations and the University of California San Diego's 21st Century China Center and the report was submitted to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The first report was released in February 2017.

(By Yin Jun-jie and Evelyn Kao)