U.S. does not take position on Taiwan's sovereignty: official

09/27/2022 12:27 PM
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U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. CNA file photo
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. CNA file photo

Washington, Sept. 26 (CNA) U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday that the U.S. does not take a position on the sovereignty issue between China and Taiwan, a position not often explicitly stated by U.S. officials.

Price was responding to a question at a press briefing on whether Washington's one-China policy supported the belief that "Taiwan is part of China and that the U.S. respects Chinese territorial integrity and sovereignty over Taiwan."

The U.S. "does not take a position on sovereignty," Price answered, but he said Washington's one-China policy has not changed and has been at the crux of the U.S.' approach to Taiwan since 1979, when the Taiwan Relations Act went into effect.

That is a position that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken "made very clear in private" to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) when the two met on Sept. 23, he said.

Price did not further define the U.S.' one-China policy Monday, but said the U.S. wanted to see the status quo in the Taiwan Strait continued and preserved, as it had undergirded peace and stability in the region for over 40 years.

China, which has become more "coercive and intimidating in its actions and maneuvers across the Taiwan Strait," apparently does not share the same hope, he said.

Beijing has accused the U.S. recently of hollowing out its one-China policy and supporting Taiwan's independence, and has stepped up military maneuvers in Taiwan's vicinity, most notably after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit in early August, in part to show its dismay.

If the Taiwan Policy Act, which cleared the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 14 and included a clause to treat Taiwan as though it were a "major non-NATO ally" of the U.S., is passed by the U.S. Congress, it would further convince Beijing that the U.S. has abandoned its one-China policy.

It has been Washington's long-standing policy to not take a position over Taiwan's sovereignty, but U.S. officials have rarely made known that stance publicly.

One such instance was when then-Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby explained the difference between the U.S.' one-China policy and Beijing's "one-China principle" during a news conference on Oct. 12, 2021.

The U.S. has long abided by its one-China policy, which was distinct from China's "one-China principle," which asserts sovereignty over Taiwan, Kirby said at the time.

The U.S. "takes no position over the sovereignty of Taiwan or on sovereignty over Taiwan," Kirby said.

In May, Price said in a social media post that the U.S. abided by its one-China policy and did not subscribe to China's "one-China principle," criticizing China for "continuing to publicly misinterpret the U.S. policy."

(By Stacy Hsu and Sean Lin)

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