MEET THE THREATS:
The United States would continue to assist in fisheries law enforcement and maritime operations, as well as counter Chinese aggression, the AIT director said.

  • By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin / Journalist, with an editor

The United States has a “rock-solid” commitment to help Taiwan maintain its self-defense capabilities, said Taiwan American Institute (AIT) director Sandra Oudkirk.

“The PRC [the People’s Republic of China] aggressive actions toward Taiwan risk destabilizing what has been a status quo situation in the Taiwan Strait that has contributed to decades of prosperity, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific,” Oudkirk said in an interview. at the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Times’ sister Taipei Journal) on January 26.

These actions include Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force flights in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone, cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, economic coercion measures and fines. punitive measures against companies, she said.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Oudkirk called the commitment to Taiwan “rock-solid”, saying the support is “to help Taiwan maintain adequate self-defense capabilities to deal with the changing threat environment”.

Security is a key part of AIT’s work in Taiwan, and security cooperation is governed by Washington’s “one China” policy, she said.

“Support for Taiwan is perhaps one of the only things with bipartisan support in the United States,” she added.

U.S. policy toward Taiwan is conducted within the framework of the Taiwan Relations Act, which includes consideration of the Three Joint Communiques, the “Six Assurances,” Economic Effects, People-to-People Exchanges, and Border Support international organizations in Taiwan, she said.

Asked about reports that the United States plans to accelerate deliveries of F-16V aircraft to Taiwan, Oudkirk said: “What I can say is that we are working very closely with our partners here in Taiwan to act as quickly as possible on defense markets and deliveries.”

The AIT director praised a memorandum of understanding signed last year to establish a coastguard task force, saying the deal allowed for cooperation in areas of interdiction drugs, fisheries enforcement, labor abuse and maritime search and rescue.

However, it is unclear whether the memorandum could be expanded, as the distance between Taiwan and the United States places constraints on closer forms of cooperation, she said.

“The Taiwan Coast Guard is an extremely effective maritime law enforcement organization. We are very happy to work with them,” she said.

Oudkirk also referred to recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Washington “has been clear with the Russian government that it has a choice between diplomacy, discussion, escalation and aggression,” she said. “There is a positive solution. The Other Path holds nothing but tragedy and heartbreak for everyone.

Oudkirk said that while Taiwan, like Ukraine, is threatened by a large, authoritarian and undemocratic neighbor with a powerful military, the difference is that Taiwan has made great strides towards democracy and is “a very large, extremely important economy worldwide”.

“People in Taiwan should be aware that the United States is working to help support Taiwan,” she said, adding that “our partners here at the Department of National Defense, the Presidential Office, and the Department of Foreign Affairs work hard”. also do their part. We will continue to work together. »

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