China-Taiwan Conflict, US Secretary of Defense: China Becomes More Aggressive in Asia

China-Taiwan Conflict, US Secretary of Defense: China Becomes More Aggressive in Asia
US Secretary of Defense: China Becomes More Aggressive in Asia

International Military - The United States will do its part to manage tensions with China and prevent conflict, even as Beijing is becoming increasingly aggressive in the Asian region, including near Taiwan. This was stated by the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Saturday (11/6/2022).

Relations between China and the US have been strained in recent months, with the world's two biggest economic powers clashing on everything. Starting from Taiwan and China's human rights record, to its military activities in the South China Sea.

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At a meeting between Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Friday, both sides made it clear that they wanted to better manage their relationship, although there were no signs of a breakthrough in resolving differences.

Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's premier security meeting, Austin said the US would continue to support its allies, including Taiwan. "That is very important because the PRC (People's Republic of China) is adopting a more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims," ​​he said.

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China claims self-governing Taiwan as its own and has promised to take it by force if necessary. Austin said there had been a "worrying" increase in the number of unsafe and unprofessional encounters between Chinese aircraft and ships and other countries.

A Chinese warplane dangerously intercepted an Australian military reconnaissance plane in the South China Sea region in May and the Canadian military accused Chinese warplanes of interfering with their patrol aircraft as they monitored North Korea's sanctions evasion.

Taiwan has complained for years about the Chinese Air Force's repeated missions to its air defense identification zone, which is not territorial airspace, but a wider area it monitors for threats.

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Austin said attacks had spiked in recent months. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry thanked the US on Friday for its support and denounced China's "absurd" sovereignty claims. "Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government, and the Taiwanese people will not succumb to threats of force from the Chinese government," said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou.

Austin said that US policy on Taiwan is to remain opposed to any unilateral changes to the status quo. “Our policy has not changed. But sadly, that doesn't seem to apply to the PRC," Austin said. However, he added: "We will do our part to manage these tensions responsibly, to prevent conflict, and to pursue peace and prosperity."

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