US envoy warns Beijing over Taiwan threat

World | Associated Press 1 Nov 2018

Any attempt to determine Taiwan's future by "other than peaceful means" is a threat to regional security and a matter of grave concern to the United States, Washington's de facto ambassador to Taipei said yesterday, in a nod to Chinese military intimidation against the island.

Brent Christensen also said at a news conference that Washington would continue military sales to Taiwan while promoting its participation in the international community that Beijing increasingly seeks to restrict.

The Taiwan Relations Act requires the United States to ensure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself and US policy "has not changed" in the 40 years since its passage, said Christensen, who heads the American Institute in Taiwan, which functions as an embassy in all but name. "Any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means represents a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and is of grave concern to the United States."

Christensen pointed to a recent arms sale to Taiwan as evidence of Washington's fulfilling its obligation to support Taiwan in "maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability against coercion." While the United States encouraged dialogue between China and Taiwan, it would at the same time cooperate to promote shared democratic values and improve economic relations with the island.

"The United States has long been a vocal supporter of Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations, and we continue our informal consultations and engagement to allow Taiwan to have a more substantive role in the international community," Christensen said.

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