Sun, 24 Sep 2023

Singapore, June 3 (ANI): In his address at the Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin warned that the conflict in Taiwan Strait would be a devastating one, criticising China for its actions in the region.

"Our policy is constant and firm. It has held true across U.S. administrations. And we will continue to categorically oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. I'd also highlight that conflict is neither imminent or inevitable. Deterrence is strong today--and it's our job to keep it that way," Austin said at the Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore on Saturday.

"You know, the whole world has a stake in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait--the whole world. The security of commercial shipping lanes and global supply chains depends on it. And so does freedom of navigation world-wide.

But make no mistake: conflict in the Taiwan Strait would be devastating," he said in his remarks 'A Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific' in Singapore.

Despite never having governed Taiwan, China's governing Communist Party claims it as part of its territory, and its increasingly frequent military exercises near and surrounding the island have aroused fears about how far it may go to realise that claim.

"The US is sincerely committed to maintaining the status quo in the strait, in accordance with our long-standing one-China policy and our well-established duties under the Taiwan Relations Act," Austin added.

Saying that US President Joe Biden has always been clear on the issue of Taiwan Strait, and that US will continue to back the self-governing island, he added, "The United States does not seek a new Cold War. And competition must not spill over into conflict. And the region should never be split into hostile blocs.""Instead, we're working to strengthen the guardrails against conflict, and to redouble our diplomacy, and to bolster peace, and security, and stability in the region."Soon after Austin spoke, Chinese People's Liberation Army Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng told China's state broadcaster CCTV that the US defence chief's remarks on Taiwan were "completely wrong," according to CNN.

Jing accused the US of attempting to "consolidate hegemony and provoke confrontation," adding that the US's activities were threatening regional peace and stability. (ANI)

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