U.S. voices concern over attempts to change cross-strait status quo

06/22/2018 12:53 PM
Alex Wong (CNA file photo)
Alex Wong (CNA file photo)

Washington, June 21 (CNA) A U.S. official expressed concern Thursday over attempts by China to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, as seen in Beijing's escalating efforts to suppress Taiwan internationally.

Alex Wong (黃之瀚), deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, pointed to recent actions taken by China to squeeze Taiwan's international space to make contributions that benefit the international community, such as offering humanitarian assistance and taking part in the World Health Assembly.

"Stability in the region is dependent on the status quo across the strait. So the U.S. government is very concerned about any attempts to disturb that status quo," Wong said during a discussion on U.S. strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific held as part of the annual conference of the Center for a New American Security.

Beyond the most-mentioned Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China communiques and Washington's "one China policy," the basis of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is shared values, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to market economics, a commitment to making positive contributions to the international system, Wong explained.

"So in that respect, Taiwan plays a very strong and important role in the Pacific because it's embodied in the type of reform, the type of value that we want to promote throughout the Pacific and throughout the world," he said.

He also mentioned the new office building of the American Institute in Taiwan, which he said is a demonstration of the "enduring nature of our relationship."

David Helvey, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, reiterated that Taiwan is a critically important partner of the United States and that Washington continues to make available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to maintain its self-defense.

He said Taiwan's role in the Indo-Pacific strategy lies in its ability to maintain investment in its own capability to maintain the right type of deterrence and balance across the Taiwan Strait, so it can interact with the mainland in a way that is consistent with its overall approach toward the cross-strait relationship.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Y.F. Low)


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