Washington, Nov. 16 (CNA) Randall G. Schriver, who has been nominated as the new U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs, said Thursday he will make strengthening ties with security partners like Taiwan a priority if his nomination is confirmed.
"If confirmed, it will be a priority to invest in our security partners in Taiwan and Singapore, and emerging partnerships with countries such as Vietnam," Schriver said at nomination hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"For this administration's vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific to be realized, we must position ourselves to prevail in the long term strategic competition we face vis-a-vis the People's Republic of China," he told the committee in his opening statement.
Schriver said the United States should continue to look for opportunities to cooperate with China where the two countries' interests overlap but acknowledged that finding such opportunities would be a challenge.
"The Chinese Communist Party's vision for a new security architecture in Asia with China at the center is in many ways at odds with our own aspiration for the region," he said.
"If confirmed I will approach the duties of my position with an understanding that a rising China presents the most consequential security challenges of my generation."
In response to a question from Senator Tom Cotton on whether the U.S.'s current level of sales of weapons to Taiwan is sufficient to deter Chinese aggression, Schriver answered, "we have more work to do there."
Cotton also raised the concern that China always has a quantitative advantage over Taiwan's military, and he asked whether it also had a qualitative advantage at this point in time.
"In certain niche areas they do. But overall, I think Taiwan maintains a qualitative edge to the point where they could deter and hopefully defeat a Chinese invasion," Schriver responded.
"There are scenarios short of invasion, coercion scenarios, which are very dangerous for Taiwan," he said.