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American Institute in Taiwan director says no imminent Chinese threat

Sandra Oudkirk pledges continued arms sales to Taiwan, but adds US 'one China' policy unchanged

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American Institute in Taiwan Directo Sandra Oudkirk. (American Institute in Taiwan photo)

American Institute in Taiwan Directo Sandra Oudkirk. (American Institute in Taiwan photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — There is no imminent threat of invasion for Taiwan, American Institute in Taiwan Director Sandra Oudkirk said in an NPR interview released on Friday (Dec. 1).

“There's an important distinction between making plans and training troops and actually getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said. Nevertheless, she reiterated the U.S.’ “one China” policy has not changed.

The U.S. will continue to provide arms to Taiwan she said, which is relevant to “the level of threat that Taiwan faces.” These weapons serve as an effective deterrence, which the director defined as “a situation where the adversary looks at their target every day, every year, every three years, and says ‘it’s not worth it.’”

Ahead of Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election, there have been many false claims circulating amongst the public, including that the U.S. is deliberately weakening Taiwan’s semiconductor companies. To combat disinformation, Oudkirk said the best way is to “talk and to engage and to be approachable and also to work on things like media literacy.”

Concerning bilateral trade, the director said Taiwan is “a huge market for agricultural goods.” She pointed out that Taiwan is the U.S.’ fourth fastest-growing foreign direct investor. It is also the sixth largest source of foreign students in the U.S., she added.

In June, Oudkirk reaffirmed U.S. bipartisan support for Taiwan, saying it “has not wavered as our administrations changed or as leadership changes here in Taiwan.”

That same month, AIT Chair Laura Rosenberger said, "The United States will not take sides in Taiwan's general election, and also opposes interference by external forces." She has met with the presidential candidate of each political party and believes Taiwan will hold a free, fair, and democratic presidential election.