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Tags: Biden Administration | China | taiwan | japan

Biden Official: 'Dangerous,' 'Delicate' Balance on Taiwan

Biden Official: 'Dangerous,' 'Delicate' Balance on Taiwan
(Map Taiwan Japan © Ruslan Olinchuk | Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 July 2021 07:36 PM

An official with the Biden administration said Tuesday that the United States supports a strong unofficial relationship with Taiwan, but does not support Taiwan's independence from China.

The announcement from White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell during a conversation with the Asia Society comes as fears are rising that hostilities could break out between the U.S. and China if Chinese President Xi Jingping decides to take action in Taiwan as China has done recently in Hong Kong.

Both islands have been independently governed, but the communist Beijing government has moved to take more control in Hong Kong in the past year. Xi has called such a move on Taiwan a "historic mission," and warned outside governments such as Japan and the United States not to interfere in what it sees as its business.

"It's very delicate. It's a dangerous balance, but it's a balance that must be maintained and the United States has extraordinarily important interests in the maintenance of peace and stability but other countries are coming to recognize that as well," Campbell said, according to Newsweek.

Japan's deputy prime minister said Monday the country needed to defend Taiwan with the United States if the island was invaded, angering Beijing.

"If a major problem took place in Taiwan, it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation (for Japan)," Japan's deputy prime minister Taro Aso said at a fundraising party by a fellow Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, according to Kyodo.

A "survival-threatening situation" refers to a situation where an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs, which in turn poses a clear risk of threatening Japan's survival.

Such a situation is one of the conditions that need to be met for Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of an ally under attack.

"We need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next," Aso was quoted by Kyodo as saying.

China foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular news conference on Tuesday that Aso's remarks "harmed the political foundation of China-Japan relations," and China "resolutely opposed" them.

"No one should underestimate the Chinese people's staunch resolve, firm will, and formidable ability to defend national sovereignty," he said.

China claims a group of Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea. The tiny uninhabited isles, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are off Japan's southern island of Okinawa.

Aso, asked about Japan's stance on the cross-strait issue at a news conference on Tuesday, said any contingency over Taiwan should be resolved through dialog.

"We are closely monitoring the situation," Aso, who doubles as finance minister, told reporters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, when asked if Aso's Monday comment was in line with the government's stance, declined to comment, saying he was not aware of the Aso comment in detail, but reiterated Japan's official policy on the matter.

"Japan hopes the Taiwan issue will be resolved through direct dialog between parties concerned in a peaceful manner. That has been our consistent stance," the top government spokesman said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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An official with the Biden administration said Tuesday that the United States supports a strong unofficial relationship with Taiwan, but does not support Taiwan's independence from China.
taiwan, japan
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2021-36-06
Tuesday, 06 July 2021 07:36 PM
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