By Aldgra Fredly
The United States is “resolutely committed” to defending Taiwan if China invades, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as he warned China’s leaders not to “precipitate a crisis” that would have “terrible consequences.”
Blinken, who was speaking at the Reuters Next Conference on Dec. 2, spoke of China’s increasing assertiveness toward Taiwan, which Beijing claims to be part of its territory.
He described China’s attempts to change the status quo as “dangerous” because it has increased pressure on Taiwan, isolated the self-governing island from the rest of the world, and engaged in provocative military maneuvers.
When asked if the United States would commit to sending military forces to Taiwan if it is invaded, Blinken reiterated the country’s position to “making sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself” either through defense articles or services.
“We are resolutely committed to Taiwan, to making sure it has the means to defend itself, but here again, I hope that China’s leaders think very carefully about this and about not precipitating a crisis that would have, I think, terrible consequences for lots of people and one that’s in no one’s interest, starting with China,” he said.
Asked if the United States could reassure its allies that it would intervene if China moved militarily against Taiwan, given that the United States had previously withdrawn troops from Afghanistan, which resulted in the Taliban taking control of the country, Blinken replied, “I think everything that allies and partners have seen from this administration is a very strong re-engagement, reinvigoration, reaffirmation of our core alliances and partnerships, starting in Asia and in Europe.”
China has been ramping up its military air force near Taiwan. On Oct.1, when China marked the anniversary of the communist regime’s rule, Taiwan reported that nearly 150 Chinese military aircraft entered its air defense zone four days in a row.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the Chinese mission included 34 J-16 fighters and 12 nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, all of which flew in an area near the Pratas Islands.
In November, Taiwan reported 27 Chinese aircraft entered its air defense zone, which involved 18 fighter jets and five H-6 bombers, as well as a Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, prompting Taiwan to scramble combat aircraft.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu described China’s latest incursion in the Taiwan Strait as a “coercive action” that was “obviously meant to bring Taiwan to its knees” and keep it away from democratic partners.
Taiwan government will “never” bow down to pressure from China, Wu said in a statement shared on Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account.