‘The United States intends to enhance its connection with Taiwan, the self-ruled island that has become a key source of contention in the fragile US-China relationship,’ a senior US official said Friday. ‘The United States will try to resist Beijing’s harmful influence,’ he said.
During her first public news conference as the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as the de facto embassy, Sandra Oudkirk reiterated the official line that the United States remains deeply committed to Taiwan and is actively working on new areas of cooperation with the island nation, such as cybersecurity and supply chains.
In his remarks, Oudkirk said that “the importance of our alliance and our commitment for Taiwan is rock strong.” Increasing our connections with Taiwan is something we are dedicated to doing.
The United States’ backing for Taiwan comes at a time when tensions between China and the island are at their worst level in decades, with Beijing increasing military harassment of the island by flying fighter planes near it. Forceful reunification with Taiwan, which broke away from the mainland during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, has not been ruled out by the Chinese government.
The United States moved diplomatic recognition of China from the reigning Nationalist Party government in Taipei to the Communist Party government in Beijing in 1979, but the US has maintained a strong unofficial connection with the self-ruled island throughout the transition.
In response to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-confirmation wen’s Thursday that US troops were indeed on the ground in Taiwan, albeit in a smaller number than many people would expect, Oudkirk declined to comment on any security initiatives or have any details about the presence of US troops on the island.
The vice president said, “We will continue to promote global and regional priorities of the Biden administration, including fighting harmful PRC influence, recovering from catastrophic effects of the epidemic, and tackling the danger of climate change.”
Taiwan has received assistance from the United States in the form of military sales to strengthen the island’s capacity to defend itself. The United States also frequently navigates the seas around the island in what it refers to as “freedom of operation” manoeuvres.
Oudkirk, who took over as director this summer, also repeated that the United States would assist Taiwan in its position on the world stage, but he did not provide any specifics.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged other members of the United Nations to support Taipei’s autonomous involvement in international organisations focusing on transportation, health, global warming, culture, and education. As an example, the Republic of Taiwan is not a member of the World Health Organization.
Because of a worldwide shortage of computer chips, also known as semi-conductors, a significant new emphasis of the United States-Taiwan partnership is on supply chain management.
A company called TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc., which is the world’s largest contract maker of processor chips, is headquartered in Taiwan. It is these chips that are utilised in everything from cellphones to medical equipment to gaming computer systems.
Recent reports in Taiwanese media indicate that chipmakers are worried about a request for information from the US Department of Commerce for information on potentially sensitive information such as inventory, manufacturing, and top customers that has been made to them. For example, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) services customers in China as well as across the globe.
The Department of Commerce’s latest request for information, Oudkirk said in response to those worries, “has been highlighted that it is just that, a request.” He also stressed that the request is entirely optional.