Washington, Dec. 16 (CNA) The United States is committed to helping Taiwan defend itself and is serious about that commitment, a U.S. State Department official said Tuesday when asked about the impact of a potential frigate sale to Taiwan on relations with China.
“We remain committed, helping to ensure that Taiwan retains the ability to prevent coercion and defend itself, and that is a commitment that we take very seriously. It’s an ongoing effort,” said Daniel Russel, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
Speaking at a conference on “Shared Challenges and Cooperation for Korea, China and the United States at the Brookings Institution,” Russel hinted that U.S.-China military exchanges would not likely be affected if President Barak Obama approved the frigate sale to Taiwan.
On Dec. 10, the U.S. House of Representatives followed the Senate in passing a bill that authorizes the sale of four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan, and it will now go to the White House for the American president to sign into law.
Russel said the quality of the dialogue the U.S. maintains with China, including the dialogue between the defense establishment and the PLA and the dialogue “between our leaders,” has been a critical element in ensuring there’s “no misunderstandings and no misapprehensions about U.S. actions and intentions.”
On that basis, he said, he was confident that U.S.-China dialogue and military cooperation will continue “on a very steady path.”
Russel stressed that the United States under the Obama administration is following the same policy as previous administrations since the normalization of ties between Beijing and Washington.
“We have a one China policy. We have a one-China policy based on our three joint communiqués,” he said.
He also pointed to Washington’s important unofficial relations with Taipei, guided by the one-China policy and the Taiwan Relations Act.
It was in that context, he said, that the U.S. is committed to helping Taiwan defend itself.
Russel said the world has witnessed significant progress after five years of cross-strait dialogue and agreements, which he said is something “we all value and welcome.”
“Our policies and our goals aim at enhancing the stability across the straits and in the region,” he said.
(By Tony Liao and Lilian Wu)