U.S. to continue strengthening ties with Taiwan: report

Taipei-The United States reaffirmed its support for Taiwan developing an effective deterrence and national defense capability as well as its commitment to strengthening and deepening its bilateral relationship with the country, in a report detailing the U.S.’s Indo-Pacific strategy released by the Department of State in Bangkok Monday.

The U.S. has repeatedly expressed concerns over Beijing’s bullying of Taiwan through military maneuvers, economic pressure, constraints on its international space, and poaching of diplomatic partners, according to the progress report on the implementation of the U.S. strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.

“These actions undermine the cross-Strait status quo that has benefited both sides of the Strait for decades,” the report states.

The report titled “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision” was released during the 2019 Indo-Pacific Business Forum on the sideline of the East Asia Summit in Bangkok.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific region a top priority of his administration. In November 2017 in Vietnam, he outlined a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all countries prosper side by side as sovereign, independent states, according to the State Department’s statement on the report.

In the 32-page report, the State Department mentions several cooperative initiatives with Taiwan, including through the American Institute in Taiwan, the two countries brought together hundreds of Indo-Pacific policymakers and experts on issues including public health, women’s empowerment, media disinformation, and the digital economy.

“We also co-hosted the first-ever Pacific Islands Dialogue in October 2019,” it added.

The report also noted that the U.S. vision and approach in the Indo-Pacific region aligns closely with the policies of regional partners, including Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy.

In terms of Taiwan’s national defense capability, the report said the U.S. supports an effective deterrence capability for Taiwan.

“In 2019, the Trump Administration approved and notified Congress of potential sales of critical defense equipment totaling more than US$10 billion,” it noted.

To meet the challenges of a digitally connected world, the U.S. promotes an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet. “We urge all countries to take a risk-based approach to evaluate technology vendors, including those that might be subject to control by or the undue influence of foreign powers,” according to the report.

“We coordinate with such like-minded partners as Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan to support this objective,” it added.

In response, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the country will continue to strengthen its partnership with the U.S. in support of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific security strategy.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel