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US says China should exercise “increasing coercion” on Taiwan

#China #exercise #increasing #coercion #Taiwan

The United States expects China to increase its military, diplomatic and economic “duty” over Taiwan, its top envoy to East Asia said Thursday after Beijing conducted unprecedented drills around the island it claims as its own.

The Chinese military has held days of air and sea drills in the Taiwan Strait following visits by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation to the self-governing island.

Washington on Thursday announced plans for formal trade talks with Taiwan by the fall to support democracy in response to China’s drills, though it has no official ties with the Taipei government.

“While our policies have not changed, Beijing’s growing compulsion has,” Washington’s top envoy for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink told reporters on a conference call.

“These actions are part of an increased pressure campaign … to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience,” he said.

Washington believes efforts to pressure the island’s government will continue in the coming “weeks and months,” he added.

Taiwan lives under the constant threat of an invasion by China, which one day wants to occupy the democratically governed island as part of its national territory – by force if necessary.

China lashes out at any diplomatic act that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign nation and imposes token sanctions on its economy.

China’s “words and actions are deeply destabilizing. They risk misjudgments and threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Kritenbrink.

On Wednesday, Taiwan unveiled its cutting-edge fighter jet in a rare nightly display in the wake of China’s drills.

Kritenbrink joined Taipei in accusing Beijing of using Pelosi’s visit as an excuse for the drills.

The envoy said Washington will respond with “calm but firm steps” to keep the Taiwan Straits open and peaceful.

His comments come after a senior US naval commander said this week that Washington and its allies must contest China’s ballistic missile fire over Taiwan, which he called a “gorilla in space.”

China’s drills have included launching multiple ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan — some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes — and it was the first time China had taken such a move since the mid-1990s.

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