Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday accused China of “undermining key elements of the rules-based international order” and called its behavior in the East China Sea, South China Sea and Taiwan Strait “alarming.”
Harris, speaking aboard the USS Howard at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, also echoed President Joe Biden’s recent comments in support of Taiwan, saying the US “will continue to oppose any unilateral change to the status quo.” And we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense in line with our longstanding policy.”
Harris’ remarks come at a time when tensions between Beijing and Taipei are at their highest level in decades, with the Chinese military holding major military exercises near the island.
Under the One China policy, the US recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized the Communist Party’s claim to a self-governing island of 23 million people. The US provides defensive weapons to Taiwan, but is deliberately ambiguous about whether it will intervene militarily if China attacks.
“China is undermining key elements of the rules-based international order. China has challenged the freedom of the seas. China has used its military and economic power to coerce and intimidate its neighbors,” Harris said in his speech.
She added that the United States considers peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait “an essential feature of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“We will continue to fly, swim and act, fearless and fearless, wherever and whenever international law allows.”
The US is “deeply interested in the future of this region,” Harris told US troops, saying their presence in the Indo-Pacific “seeks peace and stability and supports our allies and partners.”
Harris is in the region to lead a presidential delegation to the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday and meet with government officials from Japan, South Korea and Australia.
After Japan, Harris will travel to South Korea, where she is expected to visit the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea on Thursday.