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Kamala Harris to Head to Asia on Heels of Biden’s Vow to Defend Taiwan

vice president Kamala Harris The president is set to travel to US allies Japan and South Korea following the fourth incident. Joe Biden It has pledged to protect Taiwan’s disputed island from potential attacks from China.

At a news conference on Friday, senior government officials told reporters that Mr Harris would first travel to Japan on Monday to meet with local officials and attend the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated by a lone shooter. in July.

“The purpose of this visit is three-fold: first, to reaffirm the legacy of Prime Minister Abe and to support the Japanese people mourning the tragedy of his assassination; and second, to reaffirm the United States’ commitment. Assisting our allies in an increasingly complex security environment, and, third, deepening our overall engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.”

In a meeting with Japan’s current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, Harris said, “We will discuss issues such as the strength of the US-Japan alliance, broad cooperation on many issues, including outer space, as well as various regional and global issues. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Above, President Joe Biden applauds Vice President Kamala Harris as she speaks at an event on gun violence at the White House on April 11, 2022. “Indo-Pacific” region.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duk-soo, Harris attended a meeting with Japanese business leaders before heading to South Korea on Thursday, where she stressed the strength of the US-South Korea alliance. and the threat posed by North Korea, the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, growing economic and technological partnerships, and the range of regional and global issues.”

She will also lead discussions on women’s issues in South Korea before returning to the United States.

The visit was set to cover a range of topics, but officials in a phone call on Friday said the Taiwan issue “has been a recent focus and made clear concerns about China’s actions both within and outside of Taiwan.” said.

“I think the United States has made its position clear. One aspect of its approach to Taiwan is the importance of working with partners and allies. A lot is at stake and I think we are very much in line with our partners.”

“This will be an opportunity for the president to discuss future developments with the leaders of both Japan and South Korea,” the official added.

Tensions over Taiwan are particularly acute since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Appointed for the first time in 25 years travel to the island During her own Asia tour last month. China responded with its largest ever People’s Liberation Army exercise around Taiwan.

The issue was raised again in an interview earlier this week. CBS In news aired on Sunday, Biden made clear promises to defend Taiwan U.S. Army In case of an “unprecedented attack” by China.

Such a position stands apart from decades of U.S. strategic ambiguity over the issue and the mark. 4th Biden has said he will support Taiwan if China seeks unification by force. Since China won the civil war in 1949, the Communist Party-led mainland has claimed ownership of the island. Exiled nationalists established a rival government officially recognized by the United States until 1979.

Even after Washington cut official ties with Taipei that year in favor of Beijing, successive U.S. administrations, particularly under Biden and his predecessor, the former president, have continued to expand informal ties with Taiwan in recent years. has been maintained. donald trumpThe issue is at the heart of strained US-China relations, but US officials continue to insist that Washington’s policy has not changed.

“I have nothing to add to what the president said,” a senior official told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “He was asked many times if the United States would come to Taiwan’s aid. He said the other day… ‘Yes.'”

“But he also said he made it clear that our policy has not changed. “We have one China policy. We oppose unilateral changes to the status quo. And, as I said a while ago, in the context of this visit we talked about Taiwan, it’s important that we stay aligned with our allies and partners on that issue. increase.”

I asked a bystander the day before about this issue. united nations Kishida also told reporters that his country’s position on Taiwan “has not changed” since Biden’s remarks.

Japan’s prime minister has refused to discuss whether to use Japanese troops in a hypothetical conflict, saying “response will be decided after the emergency occurs.”

“Our mission is to protect people’s livelihoods, and the emergency and safety and security laws have come into force,” Kishida said.

The issue was also talked about among secretaries on Friday Anthony BrinkenMeeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York. On the topic, according to State Department documents, Blinken said, “The United States is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is consistent with its long-standing One-China policy.” He stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait for the sake of regional and global security and prosperity. “

“The Taiwan issue has grown to be the biggest risk in Sino-US relations,” Wang said in a speech at the Asia Society on Thursday, adding that “if it is mishandled, it could devastate bilateral ties.” is the highest,” he warned.

he also Beijing and Washingtonincluding disputes over human rights, technology and trade, and he warned of potential direct clashes between the world’s top two powers if their dynamics were not improved.

“If the United States treats Sino-US relations in line with the idea of ​​a zero-sum game, and continues to mislead China policy by using ‘political correctness'” – US relations to conflict and confrontation. “

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