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Pro-Taiwan US official discourages promising military assistance to nation

Kurt Campbell warns of 'significant downsides' to clarifying Washington's Taiwan policy

Kurt Campbell

Kurt Campbell (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. policy coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell has suggested the country hold off on making a clear statement on whether it will defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, saying there are "significant downsides" to such a move.

Campbell on Tuesday (May 4) during a discussion hosted by the Financial Times said concern about the situation in the Taiwan Strait is justified, with China ramping up military aggression near and around Taiwan’s borders.

He said he believes both Washington and Beijing agree maintaining a status quo over the East Asian nation is in their best interests, Reuters reported.

However, Campbell said, "I believe that there are some significant downsides to the kind of what is called strategic clarity..." He mentioned that a conflict between the U.S. and China over Taiwan would most likely cover multiple regions.

"I think it would broaden quickly, and it would fundamentally trash the global economy in ways that I don't think anyone can predict," he said, adding that the best way to maintain peace and stability would be to “send a consolidated message to China that combined diplomacy and U.S. defense innovation.”

The policy coordinator noted that actual short- and medium-term risks will be from "accidents and inadvertence," given the proximity of American and Chinese forces. It is important to build confidence between Washington and Beijing and ensure communication in moments of crisis, he said.

Campbell said the confidence-building measures currently in place resemble the checks and safeguards implemented during the Cold War, adding that China has been reluctant to use them.

Updated : 2021-05-08 22:56 GMT+08:00