YOKOSUKA, Japan — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday condemned China’s “obstructive” actions in the Pacific while pledging to deepen “unofficial ties” with Taiwan.
Harris made her remarks on the deck of the destroyer USS Howard while visiting the world’s largest overseas US naval facility in Yokosuka, near the Japanese capital.
“China is undermining a key element of the rules-based international order,” said Harris during a four-day trip to Asia.
“China uses its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbors. It has also witnessed disturbing actions in the East and South China Seas, and more recently, provocations in the Taiwan Strait. ”
The remarks to the white-dressed American sailors came after US President Joe Biden pledged to protect Taiwan’s autonomous island from an “unprecedented attack” in an interview aired on Sept. 18. .
The United States agrees to a “one China” policy that only officially recognizes Beijing, but it binds Washington to provide self-defense to democratically ruled Taiwan.
The Chinese Communist regime claims the island as its own, even though Taiwan is a de facto independent country with its own military, democratically elected government and constitution. .
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long promised to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out using force to do so.
Taiwan’s government strongly opposes the Chinese Communist Party’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s 23 million inhabitants can decide its future.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, infuriating the Chinese Communist Party and then conducting the largest military exercises in history around Taiwan.
Harris said US forces would operate in the region “without fear”, even though the US expects “continued aggressive” actions by the Chinese Communist Party.
“We will continue to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo,” he said. “And we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, in line with our longstanding policy. Taiwan is a vibrant democracy that contributes to the world’s interests from technology to health and beyond.” and the United States will continue to deepen informal ties.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing that the United States should return to its one-China policy and “make it clear that it opposes all separatist activities in Taiwan.”
Harris’ visit to Japan, Washington’s closest regional ally, was intended to reassure the allies and deter escalation.
Aides said Harris would work on a unified approach in a region where leaders have closely watched rising tensions between the United States and China.
The base Harris spoke about is home to 24,000 military and civilian workers who may be called upon in regional conflicts. It is also home to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Her Reagan, which is currently in South Korea to participate in joint exercises to deter North Korea. Harris will visit the demilitarized zone that separates the Korean peninsula on Thursday.
Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time as president at the G20 meeting in Indonesia in November.
Harris stepped below decks for a demonstration of the warship’s missile and anti-submarine capabilities before speaking with members of the U.S. military.
One commander pointed to a digital map showing a fictitious adversary, a “hostile country.”
“It’s not Guam,” he explained, referring to the Pacific region.