The United States has criticized Chinese military operations around Taiwan and warned of stability in the region. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaking at a Shangri-La forum in Singapore today, highlighted the “increasing number of provocative and destructive military operations near Taiwan”, including daily Chinese military flights near the island.
“Our policy has not changed, but unfortunately this does not apply to the People’s Republic of China,” he said. The annual forum is the premier security conference in the Asia-Pacific region. China regards democratic Taiwan, which seceded from the mainland in 1949, as a separate province rather than an independent state, and seeks to isolate it internationally. 23 million Taiwanese, on the other hand, consider themselves independent.
“We are focused on maintaining peace, stability and current status in the Taiwan Strait,” Austin said. On the other hand, China’s behavior threatens to “undermine security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The United States considers China to be Taiwan’s representative
At the same time, Austin reiterated that the United States would stick to its long-standing single China policy. By this principle, the Communist leadership in Beijing did not allow any country to have relations with both the People’s Republic and Taiwan.
Washington does not maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but considers Beijing to be China’s legal representative. There are only about a dozen countries in the world that recognize Taiwan diplomatically – including the smaller Pacific states, Central America and the Vatican.
Austin first met with his Chinese envoy Wei Fengke in Singapore. Austin stressed the need for communication between the two countries. Relations between Washington and Beijing have long been strained.
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