Despite China’s recent naval exercises in the region following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Navy ships will once again pass through the disputed Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks, senior Pentagon officials said.
On Monday, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Carr accused Beijing of creating the current crisis, saying Mrs. Pelosi’s visit was not the first of a congressional leader.
“U.S. congressmen and women go to Taiwan a lot. Legislatures all over the world go to Taiwan,” Carr told reporters at the Pentagon. “Our Congress is an independent government agency.”
He said China’s response was “completely unnecessary”.
The People’s Liberation Army has staged numerous live-fire demonstrations, including firing missiles encircling the island.
Mr Carr also noted an increased pace of naval and air activity in the Strait, including those crossing the median line between mainland China and Taiwan.
“This [People’s Republic of China] trying to coerce Taiwan,” Carr said. “They’re trying to coerce the international community. We won’t take the bait and it won’t work. “
He said Mrs. Pelosi’s visit did not signify a change in Washington’s China policy. The U.S. still recognizes the “one China” policy, but will continue to provide Taiwan with sufficient military capabilities to enable it to defend itself, he said.
“It is important for us now to ensure that Beijing understands that our forces in the region will continue to operate, fly and sail wherever international waters allow – including the Taiwan Strait,” Mr Carr said.