Trump’s pick for Australia envoy: attempts by China to force reunification of Taiwan ‘unacceptable’

Harry Harris slams Beijing's ambitions in Asia

File Photo: Pres. Trump and Adm. Harris shaking hands, Nov. 2017

File Photo: Pres. Trump and Adm. Harris shaking hands, Nov. 2017 (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a U.S. congressional hearing, Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Australia Harry Harris said in a written testimony that “any attempt by China to force reunification on the people of Taiwan is unacceptable.”

Admiral Harry Harris made this statement before the House’s Armed Services Committee in Washington on Wednesday while describing China’s ambitions in Asia. He considers Chinese investment in the U.S. and across the Indo-Pacific region, including real estate transactions in the vicinity of military installations, as threats that may “undermine” U.S. national security objectives and those of U.S. allies and partners.

In his testimony, he also expressed concern over China’s ongoing actions in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam each have claims of sovereignty to portions of the resource-rich sea.

Harris also said the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) will “continue supporting Taiwan’s efforts to develop a credible, resilient, and cost-effective deterrent and self-defense capability,” and which should be on a “continued” and “regular” basis along with the training for Taiwan’s military to help ensure the preservation of democratic institutions, according to the written testimony released by the congress.

As China's military spending and capability grows every year, he said, the ability of Taiwan to defend itself decreases. Harris said the U.S. “must continue to help Taiwan defend itself” and demonstrate its resolve “that any attempt by China to force reunification on the people of Taiwan is unacceptable.”

With that, the plain-spoken admiral indicated the USPACOM has supported extensive security cooperation activities with Taiwan, with the aim of improving the country’s self-defense capabilities. Harris took the example of recent sales of anti-ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft weapons, surveillance radar, Perry-class Frigates and amphibious assault vehicles (AAV-7) to Taiwan, as a proof of its effort and solutions to counter threats from China.

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