US to deepen ties with Taiwan amid tensions with China: high envoy

The director of the de facto US embassy in Taiwan says the deepest ties to the island are part of the fight against Beijing’s “evil influence.”

The United States wants to deepen its relationship with Taiwan and will work to counter China’s “evil” influence, said a senior US diplomat on the island, as tensions between Beijing and Taipei remain at their highest in decades.

Sandra Oudkirk, the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, ​​said on Friday that Washington remains deeply committed to Taiwan and is actively working on new areas of cooperation, such as cybersecurity and supply chains.

“We are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan,” he said, adding that US support for Taiwan is “rock solid.”

The comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called for United Nations member states to support Taiwan’s participation in the organization and its affiliated international bodies, something Taipei has sought since lost the seat representing China in 1971.

China, which views autonomous Taiwan as a renegade province, was quick to reiterate its opposition to such a move.

Observers say rising tensions increase the risk of confrontation between China and the United States, which maintains an unofficial relationship with Taiwan, including supporting the island’s ability to defend itself.

Last week, US President Joe Biden appeared to break with that long-standing US policy toward Taiwan, mandated in a 1979 law, of “strategic ambiguity.”

When asked if the United States would defend the island in light of a Chinese incursion, Biden replied, “Yes.” The White House and US military officials quickly tried to back off the response.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks, China has flown a record number of fighter jets toward Taiwan in a show of military force. Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to reunify with Taiwan, which separated from the mainland during the 1949 civil war.

For her part, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN on Thursday that she has “faith” that the United States will defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack.

Counter ‘evil influence’

On Friday, Oudkirk declined to comment on security initiatives or give details about the presence of US troops on the island.

“We will continue to advance the global and regional goals of the Biden administration, including fighting the evil influence of the People’s Republic of China (People’s Republic of China), recovering from the devastating impacts of the pandemic and addressing the threat of climate change,” he said. Oudkirk.

A key new focus of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is on supply chains amid a global crisis of computer chips known as semiconductors.

Taiwan is home to TSMC or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc, which is the world’s largest contract manufacturer of processor chips. Those chips are used in everything from smartphones, medical equipment to gaming computers.

In recent weeks, local media reported that Taiwanese companies are concerned about a request for information from the US Department of Commerce to chipmakers about potentially sensitive information, such as their inventory, production and their main customers. TSMC, for example, serves clients in China and around the world.

“I have emphasized that the recent request for information from the Commerce Department is just that, it is a request,” Oudkirk said in response to those concerns, saying it is voluntary.

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