In a speech largely devoted to a set of challenges launched by Beijing, Austin added that the United States remains committed to supporting
Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.
Speaking at a national defense forum held at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., He further emphasized the
real differences both in terms of interests and values between Washington and China.
But it’s the way we deal with them that matters, he hammered.
In recent months, the Chinese military has carried out a series of increasingly aggressive military sea and air operations near Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory. Some analysts have suggested that Beijing might test US President Joe Biden in his first year in office as well.
China, Austin said, is the only power currently capable of using its
economic, diplomatic, military and technological force to launch a lasting challenge to a stable and open international system. For him, the Chinese leaders have
increasingly openly manifested their dissatisfaction with the dominant order and their willingness to deprive the United States of its role as a world leader.
But, said the Secretary of Defense again,
we are not looking for tension or conflict […] We are not looking for a new cold war or a world divided into rigid blocks.
Faced with the Chinese challenge, he stressed, the United States will deepen its ties with friendly countries in the region, in particular through joint military maneuvers.
And finally, we remain true to our one-China policy and the commitments made. […] to support Taiwan’s ability to defend itself while maintaining our power to resist any use of force that would jeopardize the security of the people of Taiwan, concluded Mr. Austin.
Washington goes as far as possible in its ties with Taiwan, without treating the territory as a sovereign state.
That’s what we call
strategic ambiguity Americans, who, initially loyal to Taiwan, finally established diplomatic relations in 1979 with the Chinese Communist power.