Using Afghan withdrawal to judge our commitment to allies is a grave mistake – US warns China over possible Taiwan invasion

Just days after China launched 77 airplanes into Taiwanese airspace, the US has stated its resolve to defending its allies.

In a public show of force this week, China dispatched a “record number” of military jets into Taiwan’s air defense zone for four days in a row, and the US believes such acts jeopardize peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state with 40 years of self-government, but China regards the island as a separatist province.

Even if it requires military action, China has not excluded out re-ruling Taiwan.

National Defense Adviser Jack Sullivan told the BBC that the US does not want to be bullied by China.

Using Afghan withdrawal to judge our commitment to allies is a grave mistake - US warns China over possible Taiwan invasion


“We are going to stand up and speak out, both privately and publicly when we see the kinds of activities that are fundamentally destabilising,” 

Asked whether the US was prepared to take military action to defend Taiwan, Mr Sullivan said: “Let me just say this, we are going to take action now to try to prevent that day from ever coming to pass.”

Aksed whether the US was reluctant to use force in the wake of its recent withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mr Sullivan said it was “an enormous mistake to try to draw lessons” from that conflict.

“Trying to say that coming out of Afghanistan somehow tells any country anything about the depth and level of commitment the US has elsewhere is a grave mistake.”

Sullivan said China is “going to steadfastly defend its perspective on the world”.

“It’s incumbent upon us as the United States, working with allies and partners to make clear where we stand, to stand up for our friends, to stand up for our interests… And that’s what we intend to do.”

When asked how long the US would wait while Iran delayed the resumption of talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, Sullivan said: “We’ve just heard… that Iran is prepared to come back in a matter of a few short weeks, if that turns out not to be the case, then we will have to consult with allies and partners on a different way forward.

“If it does turn out to be the case, then we will see quite quickly whether the Iranians are serious at the table or whether they’re simply coming to stall and delay for time. That’s not a game that we’re going to play.”

He stressed that the US is “determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And we will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure that they do not”.

In 2015, Iran reached a deal with six powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – that saw Tehran limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.

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