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US expects China's pressure on Taiwan to continue

US expects China’s pressure on Taiwan to continue

The United States said Thursday it expects Beijing to step up its military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan in the coming weeks and months.

“If our policy hasn’t changed, the increasing pressure from Beijing has,” Daniel Grittenbrink, the State Department’s East Asia official, said in a conference call with reporters.

Earlier this month, the Chinese military conducted unprecedented exercises in the air and waters of the Taiwan Strait in anticipation of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

“These actions are part of an intensive campaign of coercion (…) to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience,” Crittenbrink said.

And these pressures will continue in the coming “weeks and months,” he added.

Washington on Thursday announced formal negotiations for a trade and investment agreement with Taiwan to support this democracy, even if the US does not maintain official relations with the Taipei government.

Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, has vowed to one day retake it by force if necessary, and has chafed at every diplomatic move toward official recognition of the island.

“(China’s) words and actions are deeply destabilizing. They risk miscalculating and threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” Grittenbrink said.

Taiwan presented its state-of-the-art fighter jet in a late-night demonstration on Wednesday, following military exercises in Beijing.

A US diplomat vowed that Washington would respond with “calm, but firm measures” to keep the Taiwan Strait open.

Washington and its allies must challenge China’s ballistic missile launches over Taiwan, a senior US Navy commander said this week.