Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin criticized China’s not too long ago heightened aggression towards its neighbors within the Asia-Pacific throughout a speech on the nation’s doorstep.
He condemned China’s “increasing fishing fleet” and its “outposts on man-made islands bristling with superior weaponry to advance its unlawful maritime claims” whereas the nation’s “vessels plunder the area’s provisions, working illegally inside the territorial waters of different Indo-Pacific nations.”
“Indo-Pacific nations should not face political intimidation, financial coercion, or harassment by maritime militias,” Austin mentioned Saturday in a keynote deal with to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier protection convention, held in Singapore.
DEFENSE SECRETARY AUSTIN MEETS CHINESE COUNTERPART FOR FIRST IN-PERSON DIALOGUE
The secretary vowed the Protection Division “will preserve [its] energetic presence throughout the Indo-Pacific.”
Austin additionally condemned China’s aggression towards Taiwan, the island of 24 million people who considers itself impartial from China, whereas the mainland views it as a territory of its personal nation.
“We’ve seen an alarming enhance within the variety of unsafe aerial intercepts and confrontations at sea by PLA plane and vessels,” he mentioned, earlier than reaffirming America’s dedication to its “one China” coverage, which rejects Taiwanese independence.
“We stay firmly dedicated to our long-standing one-China coverage — guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We categorically oppose any unilateral adjustments to the established order from both facet,” the secretary mentioned. “We don’t help Taiwan independence. And we stand firmly behind the precept that cross-strait variations should be resolved by peaceable means.”
A Chinese language navy chief accused Austin of pushing “unfounded accusations.”
“There have been many unfounded accusations towards China, and we expressed our sturdy dissatisfaction and agency opposition to those false accusations,” Lt. Gen. Zhang Zhenzhong, the deputy chief of the Joint Employees Division of China’s Central Army Fee, informed reporters, in response to CNN.
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Final month, President Joe Biden appeared to announce a shift in coverage when he affirmed throughout a press convention in Asia that america would intervene militarily in Taiwan, although the White Home later mentioned he was not discussing a coverage change. This was not the primary time his communications workforce needed to backpedal an obvious promise to make use of the navy to defend Taiwan.
Austin met along with his Chinese language counterpart, Minister of Nationwide Protection Gen. Wei Fenghe, on Friday.