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U.S., EU express concern over China's actions in Taiwan Strait

2021-12-04
Focus Taiwan
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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (right) and European External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino. Photo from the Twitter account @DeputySecState
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (right) and European External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino. Photo from the Twitter account @DeputySecState

Washington, Dec. 2 (CNA) Officials from the United States and European Union have expressed "strong concern" over China's actions in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region, which they said directly affect the security and prosperity of the U.S. and EU.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and European External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino held a high-level meeting in Washington on Thursday to discuss their respective relations with China as well as the challenges posed by Beijing.

The two officials expressed "strong concern over China's problematic and unilateral actions in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait," according to a joint press statement released by the U.S. State Department after the meeting.

They said these actions "undermine peace and security in the region and have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of both the United States and European Union," the statement said.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in 2016, Beijing has ramped up economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. Since 2019, it has repeatedly sent People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in October that 680 PLA aircraft had entered Taiwan's ADIZ this year alone, including a record 149 sorties in just four days at the start of the month.

ADIZs are areas declared by countries to allow them to identify, locate and control approaching foreign aircraft, but such zones are not considered territorial airspace.

The two officials also reaffirmed the importance of upholding and promoting freedom of navigation and overflight and expressed their readiness to deepen bilateral information sharing on disinformation sponsored or supported by China, the statement said.

At the same time, they highlighted human rights violations in China that "breach international law" and run counter to their shared values and interests.

At the same time, the two officials said they still recognized the importance of diplomacy with Beijing and will seek to cooperate with China where possible and "manage our competition and systemic rivalry with China responsibly."

Thursday's meeting was the second U.S.-EU Dialogue on China since the two sides relaunched the framework in March to discuss their respective approach to China and engagement and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.

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