Washington anticipates "aggressive behavior" from China but seeks to avoid Cold War with Beijing, US vice president said
The US administration intends to develop its "unofficial" ties with Taiwan despite China's fierce opposition, Vice President Kamala Harris said on Wednesday. She also blasted Beijing for what she described as "aggressive behavior" in the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking to American sailors aboard a US warship in Japan, Harris lashed out at China, accusing Beijing of "undermining key elements of international rules-based order." China "has challenged the freedom of the seas and has flexed its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbors," she noted.
Harris, in particular, accused Beijing of staging various "provocations" across the Taiwan Strait, an area where the US often deploys its Navy patrols. The vice president also believes that Beijing used the visit to Taipei of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August "as a pretext for an unprecedented show of military force."
In this vein, Harris signaled that, amid the heightened tensions in the region, the Biden administration expects "continued aggressive behavior from Beijing" in what she described as a unilateral Chinese effort to "undermine the status quo."
Harris pledged that the US would continue to "support Taiwan's self-defense" and "deepen our unofficial ties" with the self-governed island, stressing, however, that Washington does not seek a Cold War with China.
Her comments come after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned last week that such a conflict would be a "disaster" for both countries and for the whole world, adding that Washington's perception of Beijing as its most prominent rival in the long-term is totally unwarranted.
The regional tensions have been running high since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan in a show of support. Beijing, however, views a visit by Washington's second-in-line for presidential succession as a violation of the 'One China' principle by Washington and believes it is detrimental for Sino-US relations.
Beijing considers Taiwan sovereign Chinese territory. Since 1949, the island has been ruled by nationalists, who fled the mainland with US help after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communists. The US officially recognizes but doesn't endorse China's sovereignty over the self-governed island.