Washington, The United States continues to support Taiwan through the "faithful implementation" of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) which ensures the country has sufficient defense capability in the face of the growing threat from China, said Randall Schriver, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Thursday.
Answering questions at a seminar in Washington D.C. on China's global rise, Schriver said the U.S. is well aware of China's increasing aggressiveness in pursuit of "reunification" with Taiwan, whether by stealing away its diplomatic allies or conducting military drills around the island.
However, he also noted that there is a lot of support and goodwill for Taiwan, a democratic economy that is the 11 largest trading partner of the U.S.
Calling Washington-Taipei ties an important relationship, Schriver said the U.S. will ensure the people of Taiwan have a say about Taiwan's future.
To meet that goal, the U.S. official said Washington follows the TRA, which has been in place for 40 years and forms the basis of the U.S.-Taiwan unofficial relationship in the absence of diplomatic ties.
"We continue to support Taiwan through faithful implementation of the TRA to ensure they have the needed capabilities to deter aggression from China," he noted.
Schriver praised the ingenious design of TRA 40 years ago that helps the U.S. support Taiwan maintain its democracy and freedom.
"The TRA gives us the flexibility to provide Taiwan weapons of a self defensive character for Taiwan's sufficient self defense," he pointed out.
Taiwan is also doing its part amid China's growing military strength, he noted, saying that Taiwan's government has promised to increase its defense budget.
Saying an increased defense budget on Taiwan's part is encouraging, Schriver stressed that the U.S. will continue to be a partner in terms of providing weapons.
Asked if U.S. should adjust its arms sales to Taiwan to defend the self-ruled island from Chinese threat, the U.S. official said as the threat from across the Taiwan Strait has grown, "things we do with Taiwan have also naturally evolved."
Though U.S. officials in the Department of Defense do not talk in public about these issues, Schriver said "rest assured we meet the standards that the law (TRA) sets for us to maintain the capacity (of Taiwan) to resist force."
Schriver made the comments during a Thursday seminar titled "China's Expanding Strategic Ambitions" organized by U.S. think tank the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in Washington D.C.
In response, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed gratitude for Schriver's reiteration of the U.S. stance. Taiwan will continue to work closely with the U.S. in promoting peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region, it added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel