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‘Coercion and bullying’ from China, according to the US Defense Secretary, won’t be tolerated in Washington

By 06/04/2023 8:38 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

U.S. At the same time as reassuring Beijing that Washington remains committed to upholding the status quo on Taiwan and would instead engage in conversation than engage in armed conflict, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed on Saturday that Washington would not tolerate any “coercion and bullying” of its allies and partners by China.

Austin advocated for backing Washington’s vision of a “free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific within a world of rules and rights” during a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual forum bringing together top defense officials, diplomats, and leaders in Singapore.

Austin argued that this was the best way to counter growing Chinese assertiveness in the area.

The U.S. has increased its activity in the Indo-Pacific region to oppose China’s expansive territorial claims.

This includes routinely flying over and sailing through Taiwan.

At the symposium held by the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, he declared, “We are committed to ensuring that every country can fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.”

“And every nation, big or small, must maintain its freedom to engage in legal maritime activities.”

Austin pointed out that the United States frequently participated in disaster relief and humanitarian support operations in the region and gave millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic’s peak.

He listed several concerns significant to Asian-Pacific countries, including the fight against climate change, illegal fishing, and maintaining uninterrupted supply chains.

“We’re doubling down on our alliances and partnerships,” he declared.

He stated that the United States is dedicated to thwarting North Korea’s missile threat and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan, an island nation with a self-governing democracy that Beijing claims as its own.

He also stated that Washington has been ratcheting defense planning, coordination, and training with regional allies.

To be clear, he declared, “We do not seek conflict or confrontation. But in the face of intimidation or pressure, we will not cower.

A Canadian frigate and a U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, “waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply by international law,” according to the U.S. 7th Fleet, underscoring Austin’s remarks. The Chinese response was not immediately known.

Austin was accused of “overtly or covertly making false accusations against China” in his speech by Chinese Lt. Gen. Jing Jianfeng.

This prominent entourage member accompanied Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu in Singapore.

After Austin finished speaking, Jing talked with reporters and claimed that the U.S. has been “deceiving and exploiting” Asia-Pacific countries to further its self-interests.

Austin aimed to reassure China that the U.S. was still “deeply committed” to the established one-China policy, which accepts Beijing as the country’s capital but permits informal ties with Taiwan, and that it continues to “categorically oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.”

He pointed out the danger to the world if large nations were permitted to “just invade their peaceful neighbors with impunity.” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlighted this.

Austin stated that conflict was neither imminent nor unavoidable. “Today, deterrence is strong, and our responsibility is to keep it that way. Preserving tranquility and stability in the Taiwan Strait is essential to the world.

Long before Li was appointed defense minister, the U.S. emphasized that China has refused or ignored more than a dozen requests from the U.S. since 2021.

Additionally, there have been numerous requests for working-level engagements and standing conversations with senior leaders from the Defense Department.



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