US Vice President Harris has condemned China’s actions as ‘troubling’

YOKOSUGA, Japan, Sept 28 (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday condemned China’s “troubling” actions in the Pacific, while pledging to deepen “unofficial ties” with Taiwan. .

Harris made his comments on the USS Howard destroyer during a visit to the world’s largest overseas US naval installation in Yokosuka, near the Japanese capital.

“China is undermining key elements of the international rules-based order,” said Harris, who is on a four-day trip to Asia.

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“China has flexed its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbors. And we’ve seen chaotic behavior in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and more recently, we’ve seen provocations across the Taiwan Strait.”

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The United States subscribes to the “One China” policy, which formally recognizes only Beijing but gives the US government the means to defend democratically-ruled Taiwan.

China claims Taiwan as one of its provinces. It has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out using force to do so.

Taiwan’s government fiercely opposes China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, angering China, which has since conducted massive military exercises around the island.

While the US expects China’s “continued aggressive” actions, US forces will act “fearlessly and without fear” in the region, Harris said.

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“We will continue to oppose any unilateral change in the status quo,” he said. “We will continue to support Taiwan’s defense in accordance with our long-standing policy. Taiwan is a vibrant democracy that contributes to the global good — from technology to health and beyond, and the United States will continue to deepen our unofficial relationship.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular media briefing that the U.S. should return to the one-China policy and “clarify unequivocally that Taiwan opposes all separatist activities.”

Rising tension

Harris’s visit to Japan, Washington’s closest regional ally, was meant to reassure allies and prevent any escalation.

Aides said Harris would work toward a more unified approach in a region where leaders have warily observed rising tensions between the United States and China.

The base Harris spoke of is home to 24,000 military and civilian workers who could be called upon in a regional conflict. It is also home to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, now in South Korea to take part in joint exercises to deter North Korea. Harris will visit the Demilitarized Zone separating the Koreas on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Harris led Biden’s bipartisan U.S. delegation to the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pushed the country away from the pacifist doctrine it embraced after losing World War II.

Biden is expected to hold his first face-to-face meeting with China’s Xi Jinping as president during November’s Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia.

Before Harris spoke to U.S. service members, he went below deck and demonstrated the warship’s anti-missile and anti-submarine capabilities.

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A commander pointed to a digital map showing an imaginary enemy, which he declined to identify.

“This is not Guam,” he explained, referring to the Pacific territory.

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Trevor Hunnicutt reports in Yokosuka, Japan; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Editing by Mary Milligan, Josie Cao and Jerry Doyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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