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Biden admin vows to ‘deepen ties’ with Taiwan as Chinese warplanes threaten island

H-6K in flight (Wikimedia Commons)
January 28, 2021

The U.S. State Department vowed to back Taiwan over the weekend and called on China to discontinue its military, diplomatic and economic pressures against the sovereign island.

On Saturday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.”

Price’s comments come as China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has increasingly flown military fighter jets and surveillance aircraft inside of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

On Saturday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense identified 13 Chinese warplanes flying near the Taiwan ADIZ, including eight H-6K nuclear-capable bombers and J-16 fighter jets. Taiwan responded to the Chinese warplanes by launching its own fighter jets and activating air defense missile systems and radar warnings.

China has insisted that Taiwan is a part of mainland China, though Taiwan itself acts as an independent nation. Since 1972, the U.S. has affirmed Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan as part of the One-China policy, though under President Donald Trump, the U.S. increased interactions with Taiwanese officials, despite Chinese warnings for Taiwan and the U.S. to cut ties. In the final days of Trump’s term, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ended restrictions on U.S. diplomats interacting with Taiwanese officials and then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft held a phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen.

The Biden administrations support for Taiwan appears to continue the trend of growing ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.

“We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan,” Price’s statement continued. “The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan. The United States maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”

ABC News reported another early show of strengthening ties with Taiwan came when Biden invited Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s special representative to the U.S., to attend his inauguration on Jan. 20.