The United States is capable of “tamping down” China potential invasion of Taiwan, said the country’s deputy defense secretary Kathleen Hicks on 1 October.
Speaking at the online forum held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of the US major policy research groups, Hicks reiterated the US commitment to strengthening Taiwan’s self-defence capability, Focus Taiwan reported.
Asked to comment on a potential invasion by China of Taiwan, Hicks said the US has been watching the situation in the region very carefully “day to day”.
“We have a significant amount of capability forward in the region to tamp down any such potential,” Hicks said. “We have good relations, of course, with Taiwan. We have commitments to Taiwan that are enduring since the 1970s.”
Hicks said the primary issue is that the US is helping Taiwan to raise its self-defense capabilities against a potential invasion by China.
“That’s really important. The Taiwanese, their ability to defend themselves effectively, is a game-changer in terms of that deterrent calculus for China,” Hicks said.
Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its grey-zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and usually consisting of one to three slow-flying turboprop planes.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
On 1 June, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.