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Pentagon Chief Says US Ready to Support Taiwan in Face of China’s Military Rise

© REUTERS / Tyrone Siuhe Hai Lung SS-793 diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018
he Hai Lung SS-793 diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - China is rapidly strengthening its nuclear capabilities, but Washington is prepared for competition and will also work on supporting Taiwan’s ability to defend itself, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, Austin said that the US remains committed to the "one-China" policy, but is ready to resist any attempts to use force against the island.
According to the US secretary of defense, Washington is ready to face China’s military rise with confidence and resolve and is working to "support Taiwan's ability to defend itself."
Austin also said that China is rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal, aiming to bring it to at least 1,000 warheads by 2030.
Austin specified that the US is not trying to build an Asian NATO or an anti-China coalition, and is "not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks," but wants a peaceful Indo-Pacific region where all countries are "free from coercion."
According to the Pentagon chief, Washington is taking measures to reduce risks in relations with China and is interested in open channels of communication between the military and diplomats of the two countries.
The United States has boosted cooperation with Taiwan in recent years, while China has strengthened deployment of fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. Taiwan has been ruled independently from China since 1949. China views the island as its province, while the island authorities maintain that it is an autonomous country.
US and EU senior diplomats said in a joint statement on Friday that Washington and the European Union are interested in deepening cooperation with Taiwan based on the "one-China" policy and maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
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