A senior Pentagon official on Thursday dismissed China's war threat against Taiwan and reaffirmed Washington's commitment to supporting Taipei's defense capability under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
The TRA, which was passed when Washington switched its diplomatic recognition to China in 1979, outlines America's commitment to defend Taiwan, the South China Morning Post reported.
"Nothing has changed in relation to our commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. This is something that has been supported in a bipartisan way for decades. The department of defence will continue that same support. We have an obligation to assist Taiwan with their self-defense and that will continue," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters.
This comes after Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian threatened that "Taiwan secession means war," adding that recent military drills by the People's Liberation Army in the Taiwan region were aimed at "provocations" by the latter.
Earlier this month, the United States expressed plans to strengthen ties with Taiwan under the Biden administration. Taipei had later thanked the US for its commitment of "rock-solid support" against China's coercion.
"We sincerely thank US State Department for its rock-solid support of democratic of Taiwan in the face of Beijing's ongoing coercion. Based on shared values and interests, we are committed to our partnership with the United States in furthering peace and stability in the Indo Pacific," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan said in a tweet amid Beijing's growing belligerence.
Hours after several Chinese warplanes intruded into Taiwan's air defence identification zone, the US noted with concern the pattern of ongoing Chinese attempts to intimidate its neighbours and urged Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taipei.
The US State Department last week had said that Washington will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region.
The flight by the Chinese bombers and fighters last week came just days after Joe Biden assumed the US presidency. Taiwan Defense Ministry said that Taiwan's Air Force scrambled fighter jets as 13 Chinese warplanes intruded into Taiwan's southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ), Focus Taiwan reported.