US steps up support for Taiwan to counter rising China pressure

The United States said on Monday that it was establishing a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan, an initiative it said was aimed at strengthening ties with Taipei and supporting it in the face of increasing pressure from Beijing.

Washington also said it had declassified six security assurances given to Taiwan during the era of US President Ronald Reagan – a move analysts said appeared intended to show further support for Taipei.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stilwell, made the announcements on Monday, amid a continued deterioration in relations between Washington and Beijing and increasing pressure from China on democratically-ruled Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory.

Stilwell said the US is intensifying support to the island because of the “increasing threat posed by Beijing to peace and stability in the region” and its “deepening ties of friendship, trade, and productivity” with Taiwan.

‘Significant adjustments’

Stilwell told a virtual forum hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation that the latest US moves were not a policy shift, but part of a set of “significant adjustments” within Washington’s long-standing “one-China” policy.

“We will continue to help Taipei resist the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to pressure, intimidate, and marginalise Taiwan,” Stilwell said.

“With a population of 23 million, Taiwan continues to punch above its weight in economics as well as governance, thereby making the world a better place.”

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