U.S. warns against using force to change status quo across Taiwan Strait

07/08/2021 12:02 PM
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U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price. File photo courtesy of State Department
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price. File photo courtesy of State Department

Washington, July 7 (CNA) The U.S. State Department on Wednesday reiterated that the use of force by any party to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait will be a "profound mistake."

In a news briefing, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, cited U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying: "It would be a profound mistake by any party to try and remake that status quo with the use of force."

He did not mention China, but the statement was seen as a veiled message aimed at Beijing. China has said it wants peaceful reunification, but it has not renounced the use of force to reunify, and has threatened to crush attempts to achieve formal independence for Taiwan or interference by foreign countries.

Price's remarks were made after Kurt Campbell, the U.S. White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, said earlier this week that any Chinese move against Taiwan will be catastrophic and the Biden administration is sending a clear message of deterrence against China's aggression.

In response to Campbell, China's Ministry of Defense warned Washington that it should tread carefully.

Price said the U.S. will continue to support a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan Strait issues, which he said was consistent "with the longstanding wishes and the best interests of the people on Taiwan."

He said Washington has repeatedly urged Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and to instead engage in a meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's government.

Price said the U.S. commitment toward Taiwan was "rock solid, and his country believes the commitment "contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the broader region."

For four decades, Price said, the U.S.' policy has been consistent and its "one China" policy has been guided by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the Three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances provided to Taipei.

"That has not changed," Price said.

Price mentioned the new guidelines issued in April for U.S. government officials' contacts with Taiwanese officials, which it said will encourage closer engagement and reflect the two sides' current relationship, emphasizing the updated contact guidance was mapped out based on its one China policy, but will allow Washington to deepen its partnership with the people on Taiwan.

Under the policy, Washington acknowledges but does not openly accept Beijing's claims that mainland China and Taiwan are part of one China to be reunified one day.

The new guidance adopted by Washington allows U.S. officials to meet with Taiwanese officials whenever needed and in formal settings.

Taiwan has welcomed the guidelines as "the turning of a new page" in the Taiwan-U.S. relationship.

Beijing, however, has criticized such moves, seeing them as changing the status quo and potentially emboldening the Taiwanese government and ruling party, which favors independence.

The TRA is the law which defines the substantial but non-diplomatic ties between the people of the U.S. and the people of Taiwan after Washington shifted its recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979.

The Six Assurances are six key foreign policy principles of the U.S. for the relations between Washington and Taipei, while the Three Joint Communiques refer to the three joint statements between the U.S. and China, which played a crucial role to establish their bilateral ties.

(By Stacy Hsu and Frances Huang)

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