White House hopeful war with China over Taiwan ‘never comes to pass’: report
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday that he believes a war with China over Taiwan can be avoided even as tensions over the island remain high.
Strained relations with China peaked in August 2022 after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island to show solidarity with Taipei, despite threats from Beijing that the visit would cause “very serious developments and consequences”.
China viewed the visit as “a serious interference in China’s internal affairs” and responded by immediately intensifying aggressive military exercises near the island in the days following her trip and in the months that followed.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan listens as he is asked a question during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Taiwan officials say 17 Chinese military aircraft, 3 ships entered airspace near island
“There is a risk of conflict regarding Taiwan, but I believe that with responsible stewardship, we can ensure that this situation never happens. And that is our responsibility,” Sullivan said in an interview with NPR.
The White House refused to condemn Pelosi’s visit and maintained that members of Congress are allowed to keep their own schedules.
However, Sullivan noted that preventing war with China will be “hard work” and said it will require “coordination with allies.”
“It will require us to implement the commitments of the Taiwan Relations Act, which for 40 years now has said we will provide defense articles to Taiwan. In addition, it will require direct diplomacy with [People’s Republic of China]”We must make this a priority to ensure that there is no war over the Taiwan Strait.”
China has repeatedly accused the US of “playing with fire” and asserted that routine naval exercises conducted under international “freedom of navigation” operations are a violation of Chinese sovereignty.
A member of the People’s Liberation Army looks through binoculars during military exercises as Taiwan’s frigate Lan Yang is seen in the background on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. (Lin Jian/Xinhua via AP)
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On Thursday, Beijing once again leveled these accusations at the US Navy after a guided-missile destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait in what the Navy described as routine activity.
“The Chung-Hoon’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates wherever international law allows,” the Navy said in a statement. .
“US warships often flex their muscles in the name of exercising freedom of navigation. This is not about keeping the region free and open,” Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington Liu Pengyu said in a statement to Reuters.
Taiwanese soldiers salute during National Day celebrations in front of the presidential building in Taipei, Taiwan. After sending a record number of military jets to harass Taiwan over China’s National Day holiday weekend, Beijing has toned down the saber rattling, but tensions remain high, with the rhetoric and reasoning behind the exercises unchanged (AP Photo/Chiang Ying -ying)
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Liu called on the United States to “immediately stop provoking trouble, escalating tensions and undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
The US Navy says it is allowed to operate in the strait under international law and said it is “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state”.
Caitlin McFall is a reporter at Fox News Digital covering politics, US and world news.