The United States believes China will intensify its military, diplomatic and economic “coercion” on Taiwan, its top diplomat for East Asia said on Thursday, shortly after Beijing’s military maneuvers around the island it claims as its own.
“Although our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing’s increasing coercion,” Daniel Kritenbrink, Washington’s envoy to East Asia, told reporters in a conference call.
The Chinese military carried out air and sea military exercises for several days in the Taiwan Strait, in response to the visit to Taipei by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
“These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign … to intimidate and pressure Taiwan and undermine its resistance,” Kritenbrink added.
Washington on Thursday announced plans to start a trade dialogue with Taiwan, in a show of support for the democratically governed island in the face of Chinese maneuvering, even though it has no formal relations with Taipei.
The diplomat said he believed that the pressure on the Taiwanese government will continue in the coming “weeks and months.”
Taiwan lives under the constant threat of a Chinese invasion, which considers the island as part of its territory and has said it will take it one day.
“(China’s) words and actions are deeply destabilizing. They risk causing miscalculation and threaten stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Kritenbrink added.
The diplomat accused Beijing of using Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for military exercises.
I anticipate that Washington will respond with “calm but determined steps” to keep the Taiwan Strait open and peaceful.