Beijing, Nov 15 (EFE).- Taiwan said Tuesday it thanked United States President Joe Biden for his “support and commitment” to the island, which China claims as its own, during his Monday meeting in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Taiwanese presidential office spokesman Xavier Chang said he “expressed gratitude to Biden for reaffirming the US’ longstanding support of Taiwan and its opposition to unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” in statements collected by Taiwan’s state news agency CNA.
According to Chang, this shows “the international community has the expectation that the Taiwan Strait will be peaceful and stable.”
“Taiwan will continue to safeguard its sovereignty and emphasize that armed confrontation is not an option for anyone. Maintaining peace and stability across the Straits is the joint responsibility of both sides,” he said.
Joanne Ou, spokeswoman for the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, also said Tuesday it thanked Biden for the “rock-solid” support by expressing “his concern about China’s actions in the region.”
“As China has unprovokedly escalated its military actions in and around the Taiwan Strait, the Biden Administration has shown great respect for peace and stability in the Strait and an unwavering commitment to maintaining the current status quo,” Ou told CNA.
She added that Taiwan would strengthen its defense capabilities and deepen its security partnership with the US amid China’s provocations and military expansion.
During their meeting in Bali on the eve of the G20 leaders’ summit, Biden told Xi that Washington has not changed its One China policy, adding that he opposes “any unilateral change in the status quo” by any of the parties.
Biden also raised US objections to China’s “increasingly aggressive and coercive actions toward Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the wider region.”
Xi warned Biden that Taiwan is “the first red line that should not be crossed” and added that he hopes the US would “honor its promise” not to support an eventual independence of the island.
“Anyone who seeks to separate Taiwan from China will be violating China’s fundamental interests and the Chinese people will never allow it. We hope to see peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, but peace and Taiwan’s ‘independence’ are irreconcilable,” Xi said.
The Chinese president added that he hopes Washington would “honor his word” and “respect the ‘One China’ policy and the three joint communiqués signed” by both.
Tensions around Taiwan were exacerbated in August following a trip to the island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to which Beijing responded with the largest military exercises around the island in decades, in addition to trade sanctions on Taipei.
The island is one of the main sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its greatest military ally in the event of a war with China.
Taiwan – where the Chinese nationalist army withdrew after the defeat against the communist troops in the civil war – has been governed autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty over the island, which it considers a rebellious province for whose reunification it has not ruled out the use of force. EFE