Jun 3, 2023
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that war with China would be “devastating” during a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday.
Austin warned Beijing against taking further action surrounding the island of Taiwan—long a flashpoint between relations between the United States and China. Beijing’s “One China” policy dictates that Taiwan, an island off the country’s coast, is part of China. Taiwan’s leaders, however, consider the island to be its own nation. While the United States does not officially recognize the island’s independence, it has pledged to defend it against a Chinese invasion. In addition, the dispute of Taiwanese independence has fueled concerns about a larger conflict within the Indo-Pacific region.
Tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan have escalated in recent years. China increased the number of military exercises near the island nation amid former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s visit last year, catalyzing concerns about a conflict between the two nations. Meanwhile, China has continued to build up its military while also seeking to expand its reach in the Indo-Pacific region.
Austin noted during his remarks at the summit in Singapore that the “whole world has a stake in maintaining peace and stability” in Taiwan, pointing to the importance of ensuring the security of commercial shipping lanes in the region. Global supply chains, as well as the freedom of navigations, rely on peace in the region he said, warning of the far-reaching effects of a war in Taiwan.
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