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Taiwan is a partner of US Indo-Pacific strategy: senior US official

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs says Taiwan is a regional partner during seminar in Washington

Co-founder of 2049 Project Institute Randall Schriver

Co-founder of 2049 Project Institute Randall Schriver (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs said that Taiwan is a partner in the U.S.'s Indo-Pacific strategy, during a keynote address in Washington on July 18.

"We do believe Taiwan is a partner in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific and can make valuable contributions," Schriver said, reported CNA.

The comments were made during the "Opportunities and Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations" seminar at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, where Schriver spoke about Taiwan-U.S. relations in the context of the Trump administration's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy".

Taiwan is an important partner and can make a valuable contribution to the region and the U.S.'s regional strategy, according to Schriver.

Taiwan is a reliable partner in enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea, he added.

Schriver said the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy" is not aimed to confront any country, but rather is a positive strategy to promote international laws and norms. He went on to say that the U.S. should help regional partners to safeguard their legitimate interests and to be free from pressure or coercion.

Schriver characterized China-U.S. relations as currently being more competitive, than cooperative and that the two states have opposing views on two major issues, the South China Sea and Taiwan. He said that U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had conveyed America's position to China.

While China has the so-called "One China Principle", the U.S. has its own "One China policy" based on the Taiwan Relations Act, Six Guarantees and other legislation. He said the U.S. was worried by recent pressure by China on Taiwan, and said that the U.S. will support Taiwan in-line with current policy and legislation.

Schriver said that China's militarization of the South China Sea (SCS) had undermined public commitments to China's so-called peaceful rise made by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Former head of Australia's armed forces, Mark Binskin made similar comments this month, when he said China's military build-up in the SCS had lost the trust of its neighbors.

The seminar was a joint event put on by the Heritage Foundation and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.