U.S. Will Continue to Defend Taiwan From China's Threats: White House

The Biden administration is reiterating its support for Taiwan's self-defense in response to what it calls China's increasingly provocative actions against the self-governing island.

Kurt Campbell, a top White House aide for the Indo-Pacific, said during a press call Friday that the White House will seek deeper ties with Taiwan in the face of what he called China's potentially destabilizing nearby military activity. His remarks come as Beijing remains fuming over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Taiwan, which China views as part of its territory.

Chinese forces last month began a series of extensive military drills near the Taiwan Strait that began after Pelosi departed Taipei after meeting with Taiwanese officials with other U.S. lawmakers. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry reported a record number of Chinese aircraft and naval vessels in its surrounding sea and airspace with military jets flying more than 300 sorties around the island.

"China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented," Campbell said Friday. "China launched missiles into the waters around Taiwan. It declared exclusion zones around Taiwan that disrupted civilian, air and maritime traffic."

Taiwanese Flags
The White House on Friday restated its commitment to Taiwan. Above, Taiwanese flags are seen as tourists walk past in Taiwan's Kinmen islands on August 11, 2022. Sam Yeh/Getty Images

Campbell said China disregarded the long-established centerline separating Taiwan from China. In response, he said President Joe Biden directed the USS Ronald Reagan to remain stationed in the Philippines Sea, east of Taiwan.

The U.S. has had a complicated relationship with Taiwan since President Richard Nixon re-established relations with Communist-led China. Since the rapprochement with Beijing, the U.S. has recognized "one China." At the same time, the U.S. has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan, while not formally accepting China's claim to the island.

Campbell said the U.S. remains committed to its one China policy while continuing to fulfill its obligations set out in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which he said includes supporting the island's self-defense.

"We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side, and we do not support Taiwan independence, and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means," he said.

In the coming days, Campbell said the White House would roll out "an ambitious roadmap for trade negotiations" with Taiwan. Consistent with America's one China policy, the Biden administration "will "deepen our ties with Taiwan including through continuing to advance our economic and trade relationship."

Congress is currently considering the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which would increase defense assistance for the island. Chinese officials have excoriated the bill as infringing on its sovereignty.

The Chinese government this week released a major policy paper arguing strongly for Taiwan being brought under mainland control, hinting that force may be necessary to bring the island to heel.

Newsweek has reached out to the Chinese government for comment.