U.S. reaffirms commitment to helping Taiwan defend itself

04/20/2021 11:34 AM
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U.S. President Joe Biden (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meet in Washington on April 16. Kyodo News photo
U.S. President Joe Biden (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meet in Washington on April 16. Kyodo News photo

Washington, April 19 (CNA) The United States remains committed to providing Taiwan with defensive material and helping it strengthen its self-defense capabilities, U.S. Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said Monday.

"We remain committed, as we have for multiple administrations, to aiding Taiwan in its self-defense, to providing materiel for them to defend themselves," Kirby said at a news briefing when asked how Japan and the U.S. should cooperate to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait.

When asked by Japanese Nippon Television about the necessity to formulate a joint operation plan or hold joint exercises to prepare for a potential confrontation in the Strait, Kirby said he would not speculate on this issue.

He simply reiterated the U.S.' support for the one-China policy and said "nobody wants to see things come to blows over Taiwan."

Talk of U.S.-Japan cooperation on Taiwan emerged after U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in Washington on April 16.

The importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was highlighted in a joint statement issued after their meeting. That was believed to be the first mention of the importance of cross-strait security in a joint U.S.-Japan statement since 1969.

Meanwhile, Kirby noted that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who participated in the April 16 meeting with Suga, made his first overseas trip to Asia and his first stop was Tokyo.

The trip gave him a chance to learn more about the region from the Japanese perspective and reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to its obligations and its assistance in the defense of Japan under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, Kirby said.

The U.S. will also continue to work bilaterally with Japan's Self-Defense Forces to improve their collective capabilities given the scope of the threats across the region, including the threats emanating from North Korea, Kirby said.

(By Stacy Hsu and Evelyn Kao)

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