India-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Tuesday that the Biden administration does not support an “independent Taiwan” because it understands the sensitivities involved. However, he said the US would step up engagement in Southeast Asia to contain China’s rise in the region.
Mr. Kurt Campbell
Campbell’s remarks at the Asia Society were his first public comments since President Xi Jinping’s July 1 speech on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, in which the Chinese leader called the reunification of Taiwan “a historic mission and an unshakable commitment” of the party.
“We support a strong informal relationship with Taiwan. We don’t support Taiwan independence,” Campbell replied to the moderator’s question when it came to stronger ties with the island.
“We fully recognize and understand the sensitivity involved here,” he said. “We believe that Taiwan has the right to live in peace. We want to see their international role, especially in areas like vaccines and pandemic related issues, they should have a role there, they shouldn’t be pushed out in the community. international.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration will “step up our game with regard to Southeast Asian diplomacy, understanding that commitment to that region is key to successful Indo-Pacific policy,” he said. Campbell continued.
“We fully acknowledge that for an effective Asia strategy, an effective Indo-Pacific approach, more needs to be done in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Campbell.
America’s plan for the “Southeast Asian game” has been thwarted by the cancellation of the Shangri-La Dialogue, which attracts high-ranking military officials, diplomats and arms manufacturers from around the world. world, Mr. Campbell noted. However, he said that through vaccine donation and new infrastructure grants, the United States is finding ways to engage in a sustainable way.
“We ran our own vaccine programs, and also worked with the Quartet. We are deeply committed to ensuring that we deliver the vaccine by 2022 to Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. We think this is the most important contribution we can make in the near future,” he said.
On the China threat, Mr. Campbell said in response to this challenge, the Biden administration has made Asia the focus of regional affairs. “You will see this movement from the Middle East, and it will most likely be very painful. We will see some real challenges in places like Afghanistan, but we will focus more on the Indo-Pacific.”
The challenge for the United States is to come up with a strategy that gives China an opportunity, but it will also respond strongly if Beijing takes steps that are contrary to maintaining peace and stability, Mr. Campbell said. .
Mr. Campbell’s statement on the issue of Taiwan independence is consistent with what he has said in previous speeches and does not indicate a change of policy. But they will be interpreted in Beijing as a commitment to the status quo.
Under the “One China” policy that the United States has maintained since 1979, Washington has acknowledged that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The United States recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the “only legitimate government of China” but does not explicitly recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
This is different from Beijing’s “One China” principle, which considers Taiwan a province of China and part of its claim to sovereignty.