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U.S. must 'impose costs' for China's threats to Taiwan: official

ROC Central News Agency

01/30/2021 01:31 PM

Washington, Jan. 29 (CNA) The United States must be prepared to "impose costs" on China for its bellicosity and threats toward Taiwan, as well its actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday.

Sullivan made the comments during an online discussion with Robert O'Brien, his predecessor from the Trump administration, on the transition of power and U.S. foreign policy. The session was hosted by the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace.

In the discussion, O'Brien named China as the top foreign policy challenge being handed over to President Joe Biden, citing its increasingly "assertive" approach to Taiwan, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and India.

In response, Sullivan proposed four steps the U.S. can take to contend with the challenges that China poses.

The first step, Sullivan said, is to recognize that China is making the case that the Chinese model is better than the American model, and is pointing to the recent dysfunction and division in the U.S. as evidence of this claim.

To effectively combat this argument, the U.S. must "refurbish the foundations of (its) democracy" by tackling social problems such as racial and economic inequality, Sullivan said.

Second, he said, the U.S. will be most effective in advancing its vision for a free, prosperous and equitable society if it does so "in lockstep with its democratic allies and partners."

With its allies in Europe and Asia, the U.S. can lead "a chorus of voices" who collectively represent more than one half of the world's economy, which would give it "leverage" to stand up to Chinese pressure, he said.

Third, Sullivan said, the U.S. must increase public investment in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology and clean energy, as a great deal of the competition between the U.S. and China will be decided by which country enjoys a technological advantage.

The last step, according to Sullivan, is for the U.S. to speak with clarity and consistency in regards to China and other foreign policy issues.

Specifically, this includes "being prepared to act as well as to impose costs for what China is doing in Xinjiang, what it's doing in Hong Kong, and for the bellicosity and threats that it is projecting towards Taiwan," he said.

Meanwhile, in a conversation Friday with the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, Taiwan's representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said bilateral ties between Taiwan and the U.S. were "off to a good start" under President Joe Biden.

As examples, Hsiao noted the supportive statements about Taiwan that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made during their confirmation hearings, as well as her invitation to attend Biden's inauguration.

Asked about the widespread support in Taiwan for former U.S. President Donald Trump, which put it at odds with many other democratic countries, Hsiao clarified that Taiwan's government "never takes a position on domestic U.S. politics."

In terms of the sentiment in Taiwanese society, Hsiao said, much of the support for Trump had to do with him "presenting a persona of being tough on China," which also appealed to many dissidents in Hong Kong and overseas amid uncertainty over where the next U.S. administration would stand.

"But I think we've all been reassured that there is some continuity in terms of an understanding that we are dealing with a very different China and a very different global situation," Hsiao said.

On the issue of trade, Hsiao argued that a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement would have both economic and strategic significance.

In addition to Taiwan being the ninth-largest trading partner of the United States, the two countries' economies are also highly complementary, as can be seen in Taiwan's provision of semiconductor chips to the U.S. auto industry, she said.

Although Biden has said he will not enter into any such agreements in the early part of his term, Hsiao said she believes there is "no time to waste" and that Taiwan is eager to begin negotiations on the issue as soon as a new U.S. Trade Representative is confirmed.

(By Stacy Hsu, Ozzy Yin and Matthew Mazzetta)


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