Declassified US document shows commitment to defend Taiwan

  • 13 January, 2021
  • Natalie Tso
US President Donald Trump at the Alamo in Texas on Tuesday (photo: AFP)

The US declassified a national security document on Tuesday showing its strategy for the Indo-Pacific. In it, the US shows its commitment to defend the first-island-chain nations, including Taiwan.

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said the document, titled "United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific" was released to show the US commitment to "keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open long into the future". The document was declassified 30 years earlier than it normally would have been.

In regards to Taiwan, the document says that the US should "Devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to: (1) denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the "first island chain" in a conflict; (2) defending the first-island-chain nations, including Taiwan; and (3) dominating all domains outside the first island-chain.”

It also said that the US should "Enable Taiwan to develop an effective asymmetric defense strategy and capabilities that will help ensure its security, freedom from coercion, resilience, and ability to engage China on its own terms.”

Responding to the document's release, Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australia National University said, "This is a highly significant document. It's extraordinary that it's been released decades early.” He said, "I think it's a signal about the kind of continuity that the permanent government of America, or if you like the officials, want to see in America's relations with the Indo-Pacific, including in managing China's power.”

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