TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander Admiral John Aquilino said on Thursday (Aug. 5) the United States is capable of defending Taiwan in a military conflict.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Aquilino said the U.S. military continues to operate in the Indo-Pacific to maintain regional peace and prosperity, adding that it must ensure the status quo remains in the Taiwan Strait. The commander said Beijing’s “heavy-handed actions” in Hong Kong have increased his concerns about China’s intentions toward Taiwan, Stars and Stripes reported.
Aquilino said U.S. policy toward Taiwan is very clear and based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the six assurances, and the three U.S.-China joint communiques. When asked whether China will attack Taiwan earlier than expected, he only reiterated the Indo-Pacific is the most important region for the U.S. and is Washington’s biggest security challenge, per a Liberty Times report.
Aquilino said the U.S. military is focusing on an integrated deterrence, which is “designed for the entire joint force to be able to operate in a synchronized fashion in all domains,” such as cyberspace and space. He added the U.S. is also working to ensure interoperability with other allied military forces. "The U.S. is ready for any contingency should it occur,” Stars and Stripes quoted the commander as saying.
“I have a level of confidence that the U.S. military and Department of Defense is in a good place,” Aquilino said.
The commander also pointed out the U.S.’s biggest concern is not what Beijing says but rather what it does and how it acts toward its neighbors. China’s actions are far from what it has pledged to do, he said, listing the Sino-British Joint Declaration as an example of its many broken promises. Aquilino added that Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang goes against the values of dignity, respect, and human rights.