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Pentagon sidesteps Japan official's call to 'defend' Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

07/07/2021 01:29 PM

Washington, July 6 (CNA) The Pentagon on Tuesday reiterated its Taiwan policy but stopped short of openly backing the Japanese deputy prime minister's call made earlier this week for Japan and the United States to defend Taiwan if it is invaded by China.

Answering questions regarding the Japanese official's call and U.S. policy on threats to Taiwan at a press briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the country's Taiwan policy remained unchanged.

The U.S. will continue to "observe the one-China policy and recognize that in accordance with the Three Communiques, the Six Assurances, and of course the Taiwan Relations Act," he said.

"We also remain committed to helping Taiwan defend itself, again, with bipartisan support over many decades from Congress on that. Nothing's changed about that," said Kirby.

In addition, Kirby reiterated the Pentagon's stance that the U.S. must continue to pursue what is known as "integrated deterrence" in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of increasing challenges posed by China.

Under that strategy, the U.S. will mobilize its capabilities and resources together across the joint force, as well as work with its allies and partners, including Japan, South Korea and Australia, according to Kirby.

Kirby's reiteration of U.S. policy came after Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso's said during a political fundraiser on Monday that an invasion of Taiwan by China could be seen as an existential threat, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

"If a major incident happened (over Taiwan), it's safe to say it would be related to a situation threatening the survival (of Japan). If that is the case, Japan and the U.S. must defend Taiwan together," Aso was quoted as saying by the Japan Times.

"We need to think hard that Okinawa could be next," Aso added, according to Kyodo News.

Such a situation is one of the conditions required for Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense, which means coming to the aid of an ally in the event of an attack that threatens Tokyo's own security.

According to the Japan Times, Aso is known for his outspokenness, and it was unclear how much weight his remarks carried.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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