TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The United States is opposed to any unilateral changes over the status quo on Taiwan, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Nikkei on Wednesday (May 31).
Austin is currently on an Asia trip, which includes stops in Japan, Singapore, and India. He is set to meet Japan’s Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu in Tokyo on Thursday (June 1) and attend the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Friday (June 2), before heading to India.
The defense secretary told Nikkei in a written interview that “no region is more consequential in shaping the world we live in today” than the Indo-Pacific. In regards to Washington’s commitment to maintaining its Indo-Pacific presence amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Austin said, “I’m very confident in our ability to handle any security challenges that may emerge in multiple theaters.”
He added the U.S. will continue to work closely with Japan in keeping the peace in the region and to counter “destabilizing behavior” from China.
Nikkei also cited Austin as saying, “I would like to make it clear that we’re opposed to unilateral changes in the status quo on Taiwan,” reiterating Washington’s position that Beijing should not use force to invade Taiwan.
He added that while a conflict with Beijing is “neither imminent nor inevitable,” the American military “will continue to monitor aggressive actions by the PRC and work with our allies and partners to do everything we can to bolster peace and strategic stability in the Taiwan Strait and in the region as a whole.”
Washington recently delivered a batch of Stinger missiles and relevant equipment valued at US$500 million (NT$15.3 billion) to Taiwan using the Presidential Drawdown Authority on May 24. When asked by Nikkei about this shipment, Austin said, “We continue to fulfill our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.”
Source: Taiwan News