The top U.S. diplomat to Taiwan said Friday the United States has a commitment to help the self-ruled island provide for its self-defense as tensions intensify between Taiwan and mainland China.

In her first news conference since taking her post in July, the de-facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk, said the U.S. continues to have a shared and abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and throughout the region. She also said the U.S. is “deeply concerned by the ongoing efforts by China to undermine that stability.”

She said, “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid.”

The U.S. support for Taiwan comes as tensions between China and the island are now at the highest in decades, with Beijing stepping up its military harassment by flying fighter jets toward Taiwan.

Since 1979, the U.S. has adopted a “one China” policy, in which it diplomatically recognized Beijing as the only Chinese government. It is the reason there is no official U.S. embassy in Taiwan. At the same time, the U.S. did not recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, as Beijing asserts, a point Oudkirk reiterated Friday.

She told reporters, “The United States has a commitment to help Taiwan provide for its self-defense … It’s a commitment we take very seriously.”

Oudkirk refused to comment or provide specifics on any security initiatives when asked about comments made Thursday by Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, confirming a small number of U.S. troops are present in Taiwan to help with training.

She said the U.S. will “continue to advance global and regional goals of the Biden administration, including countering malign ((China)) influence, recovering from the devastating impacts of the pandemic and addressing the threat of climate change.” 


Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

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