Washington (The Times Groupe)- The United States will stand by its friends as China asserts its territorial claims more forcefully and aggressively, the country’s defense chief Lloyd Austin said on Saturday. taiwan
Lloyd Austin said China’s expanding fishing fleet in the East China Sea is causing tensions.
As China advances its illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea, it is “establishing outposts on manmade islands armed with advanced weapons,” he added, adding that Beijing is “hardening its position along the border it shares with India.”
“Indo-Pacific countries shouldn’t face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment by maritime militias,” Austin concluded.
He said the US “will maintain our active presence across the Indo-Pacific” alongside its partners.
Commenting on Beijing’s tensions with Taiwan, the defense chief said the US remains “firmly” committed to the long-standing one-China policy.
Taiwan is considered by China to be a “breakaway province,” but Taipei has been insisting on its independence since 1949.
“We categorically oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We do not support Taiwan independence,” he said. “And we stand firmly behind the principle that cross-strait differences must be resolved by peaceful means.”
Lloyd Austin added: “Our policy hasn’t changed. But unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be true for China.”
Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is not just a US concern but also an international one.
“So let me be clear. We do not seek confrontation or conflict,” he said. “And we do not seek a new Cold War, an Asian NATO, or a region split into hostile blocs.”