U.S. has ability to resist military threats to Taiwan: State Dept.

04/08/2021 11:28 AM
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U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price at a press briefing Wednesday / Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price at a press briefing Wednesday / Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Washington, April 7 (CNA) The U.S. State Department reaffirmed on Wednesday its "rock-solid" commitment to Taiwan and said the U.S. maintains the ability to resist any actions that would threaten the island's security, amid a recent rise in military pressure from China.

The remarks by State Department spokesman Ned Price came as a Chinese aircraft carrier group conducted drills in waters off Taiwan and as 15 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that day, in the fifth straight day of such incursions.

In response to the stepped-up military activity, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) warned Wednesday that the country will fight "to the very last day" if attacked by China.

Asked at a press briefing about Beijing's apparent ratcheting up of pressure on Taipei, Price reaffirmed that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan remains "rock-solid."

The U.S. has noted with great concern China's ongoing efforts to intimidate in the region, including with regard to Taiwan, Price said.

In support of longstanding U.S. policy, including the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. "maintains the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social and economic system of the people on Taiwan," he said.

Meanwhile that day, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department was asked if the transit of a U.S. naval vessel through the Taiwan Strait was related to the recent uptick in tension.

The USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, conducted "a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 7 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law," according to a press statement by the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, however, said the U.S. does not conduct freedom of navigation exercises around the world in response to specific events or actions, but rather to demonstrate its commitment to the freedom of all nations to "sail, operate and fly in accordance with international law."

(By Stacy Hsu, Chiang Chin-yeh and Matthew Mazzetta)

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