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US offers reassurances of support for Taiwan

WASHINGTON -- An American official on Thursday reiterated the United States' commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) as part of its overall rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.

“The Obama administration has placed a high priority on strengthening our unofficial relations with Taiwan,” said Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, in answering a question during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Asked if the developments in Ukraine and Crimea would affect the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, Russel said that maintaining peace and stability in the region is a top priority of the U.S.

“The tolerance in the region for steps by China that appear to presage a more muscular approach has gone down as their alarm over Russian action and annexation of Crimea has increased,” he said.

The key underpinning of U.S. policy rooted in the TRA is its opposition to any effort to resolve the differences pertaining to Taiwan through intimidation, coercion or military force, Russel said.

In a later e-mail to CNA, Russel said the U.S. remains firmly committed to the U.S. one-China policy, the three joint communiques, its responsibilities under the TRA and its “six assurances.”

The assurances were made in 1982 by then President Ronald Reagan. They include not setting a date for ending U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and not pressuring Taiwan into negotiations with China.

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