US sees China continuing pressure campaign against Taiwan

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has been carrying out military drills around the island this month. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI/BEIJING (REUTERS) - China’s efforts to coerce and undermine Taiwan risk miscalculation and its pressure campaign will most likely continue, Mr Daniel Kritenbrink, the top US diplomat for East Asia, said on Wednesday (Aug 17).

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has been carrying out war games and military drills around the island this month to show its anger at a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Speaking on a conference call, Mr Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China had used Mrs Pelosi’s trip as an excuse to change the status quo, jeopardising peace.

“These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign by the PRC against Taiwan, which we expect to continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months,” he said, referring to China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

“The goal of this campaign is clear to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience.”

The United States has been clear with China that its approach to Taiwan has not changed, including the US commitment to its “one China” policy and not supporting Taiwan’s formal independence, Mr Kritenbrink added.

“While our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing’s growing coercion. The PRC’s words and actions are deeply destabilising. They risk miscalculation and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.”

The US has conveyed to China in every conversation that it does not seek and will not provoke a crisis, he said.

US lines of communication with Beijing remain open, and the US will continue to conduct routine naval transits through the Taiwan Strait, Mr Kritenbrink added.

“We will continue to take calm, but resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine it and to support Taiwan in line with our long-standing policy. We will act responsibly, steadily and resolutely,” he said.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province to be reunited, by force if necessary.

Taiwan’s democratically elected government says that as the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island, it has no right to decide its future, which can only be set by its 23 million people without coercion.

Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide it with the means to defend itself.

China says Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in its ties with the US.

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