Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Washington [US], September 17 (ANI): The US and Australia have stated their intent to strengthen ties with Taiwan and emphasised their support for the self-ruled island meaningful participation in international organisations.

This was discussed during the US and Australia Ministerial Consultations. According to the joint statement following the talks, the Secretaries and Ministers re-emphasised Taiwan's important role in the Indo-Pacific region.

This is expected to irk China, which in recent times have ramped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton on Wednesday in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021).

"Both sides stated their intent to strengthen ties with Taiwan, which is a leading democracy and a critical partner for both countries. The principals emphasized their support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations, as a member where statehood is not a prerequisite and as an observer or guest where statehood is a prerequisite for membership," the statement read.

"The United States and Australia reiterated continued support for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without resorting to threats or coercion. The American and Australian counterparts expressed their shared commitment to enhance donor coordination with Taiwan in the Pacific," it added.

Since September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its grey-zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone, with most occurrences taking place in the southwest corner of the zone.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.

On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island. (ANI)

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