YOKOSUKA, Japan, September 28 (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday condemned China’s “worrying” actions in the Pacific while pledging to deepen “unofficial ties” with Taiwan, days later. that the American administration promised that its forces would defend the island.
Harris made his remarks from the deck of the destroyer USS Howard during a visit to the world’s largest overseas US Navy installation in Yokosuka, near the Japanese capital.
“China is undermining key elements of the rules-based international order,” said Harris, who is on a four-day trip to Asia.
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“China has deployed its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbours. And we have witnessed disturbing behavior in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and more recently, provocations across the Taiwan Strait. “
The remarks to the white-clad US sailors come after US President Joe Biden pledged in an interview broadcast September 18 to defend the Chinese-claimed island of Taiwan from an “unprecedented attack”. Read more
The United States subscribes to a “one China” policy that formally recognizes only Beijing but requires the US government to provide democratically-governed Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
China says Taiwan is one of its provinces. He has long vowed to bring Taiwan under his control and has not ruled out using force to do so.
Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, infuriating China, which then carried out its largest-ever military drills around the island.
Harris said U.S. forces would operate in the region “undeterred and fearless,” even as the U.S. expects “continued aggressive” actions from China.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a panel discussion at the NAACP national convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. July 18, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier/File Photo
“We will continue to oppose any unilateral change to the status quo,” she said. “And we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, consistent with our long-standing policy. Taiwan is a vibrant democracy contributing to the global good – from technology to healthcare and beyond, and the United States will continue to ‘deepen our unofficial policy ties.’
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a regular press briefing that the United States should return to the one-China policy and “make it clear that we oppose all Taiwan’s separatist activities”.
Harris’ trip to Japan, Washington’s closest regional ally, was intended to reassure allies and deter escalation.
Aides said Harris would work on a unified approach in a region where leaders have cautiously watched rising tensions between the United States and China.
The base where Harris spoke is home to 24,000 military and civilian workers who could be called upon in a regional dispute. It is also the home of the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier now in South Korea to participate in joint exercises to deter North Korea. Harris will travel to the demilitarized zone separating the Koreas on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Harris led Biden’s bipartisan U.S. delegation to the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who steered the country away from the pacifist doctrine it embraced after its defeat in World War II.
Biden is expected to hold his first face-to-face meeting as president with China’s Xi Jinping at November’s Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia.
Before Harris spoke to the US military, she went below decks and was given a demonstration of the warships’ missile and anti-submarine capabilities.
A commander pointed to a digital map showing a hypothetical enemy, a hostile country he refused to identify.
“It’s not Guam,” he explained, referring to the Pacific Territory.
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Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Yokosuka, Japan; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Editing by Mary Milliken, Josie Kao and Gerry Doyle
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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