TAIPEI – The United States has urged China to stop using coercive measures, and engage in constructive dialogue to solve differences with Taiwan, official Central News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The news agency quoting Brent Christensen, the de facto US ambassador to Taiwan, said Washington was also gravely concerned over the tension between China and the island nation caused by Beijing’s arm-twisting methods to achieve reunification.
“We are concerned about any tension in the cross-strait relationship (...) and we urge Beijing and Taipei to engage in constructive dialogue to peacefully resolve their differences,” Christensen told CNA.
The de facto US embassy on the island is called the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and represents Washington’s interests on the island since 1979, when the North American country broke off ties with Taipei to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing.
He said the US considered any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means as being of “grave concern, and urged China to opt for dialogue and only use peaceful means to resolve problems with the island.”
“We certainly believe that coercive means should not be employed to address these concerns. We certainly urge China to abstain from any coercion that would jeopardize security or the social, economic system of the people of Taiwan,” he said.
He made these statements in reference to the speech delivered on Jan. 2 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who refused to renounce the use of force to achieve reunification of the island with communist China.
“We do not promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option to use all necessary measures,” Xi said in his speech, adding that “China must and will be united.”
The US had pledged in 1979, through the Taiwan Relations Act, to provide war equipment for the defense of the island from external threats.
China suspended official communication with the island and intensified its diplomatic siege and military intimidation of Taiwan from May 2016 when Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became the president.
Following Xi’s Jan. 2 speech, the island has intensified developing military hardware, particularly missiles and drones, amid increasing Chinese pressure.
President Tsai is making several visits to military bases during the days leading up to the Lunar New Year and has urged the military to reinforce its ground-to-air missile defense.