US assures support for Taiwan amid China’s show of aggression

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks next to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, during a news conference to announce the Trump administration's restoration of sanctions on Iran, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2020. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan amid a show of aggression by China that has sent a number of military jets into the island’s air space.

The comments are the first from Washington on relations with Taiwan since President Joe Biden took office last week. Taipei has reported that a number of Chinese military jets and bombers have flown into its air defense zone, revving up tensions anew between China and Taiwan.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said it “notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC (People’s Republic of China) attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan” and “urges Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan.”

The statement added that Washington would continue to work on “deepening” ties with democratic Taiwan.

While Taiwan split from China at the end of a civil war in 1949, Beijing considers the island a province of the mainland.

When he was US president, Donald Trump fostered warmer ties with Taiwan as he feuded with Beijing on issues like trade and national security.

Beijing has been calling for better US-China ties under Biden and has warned the US “cautiously and appropriately handle Taiwan issues to prevent harm to US-China relations”.

In 2020, Chinese airplanes made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. And also last year, Taiwan finalized the purchase from the US of at least 66 brand new F-16 fighter jets worth $62 billion, which irked Beijing that has been stepping up the upgrading of its own military.

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