Navy warships will make another passage through the disputed Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks despite recent Chinese naval exercises in the region following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, top Pentagon officials said.
On Monday, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl accused Beijing of manufacturing the current crisis, saying Mrs. Pelosi’s trip wasn’t the first for a leader of Congress.
“Congressmen and women from the United States regularly go to Taiwan. Legislatures from around the world go to Taiwan,” Mr. Kahl told reporters at the Pentagon. “Our Congress is an independent body of government.”
He said China’s reaction was “completely unnecessary.”
The People’s Liberation Army conducted several live-fire demonstrations, including launching missiles bracketing the island.
Mr. Kahl also noted the increased pace of naval and air activities in the Strait, including those that crossed over the median line between mainland China and Taiwan.
“The [People’s Republic of China] is trying to coerce Taiwan,” Mr. Kahl said. “They’re trying to coerce the international community. We’re not going to take the bait and it’s not going to work.”
He said Mrs. Pelosi’s visit does not signal a change in Washington’s policy toward China. The U.S. still recognizes the “One China” policy but will continue to provide Taiwan with sufficient military capabilities so it can defend itself, he said.
“What’s important for us right now is to make sure that Beijing understands that our forces in the region will continue to operate, to fly, to sail wherever international waters allow — that includes the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Kahl said.